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Our Lord Jesus Christ's words to his chosen and dearly beloved bride declaring his most excellent incarnation, condemning the profane violation and breach of our faith and baptism, and inviting his beloved bride to love him.

Book 1 - Chapter 1

“I am the Creator of heaven and earth, one in divinity with the Father and the Holy Spirit. I am he who spoke to the prophets and the patriarchs, the one whom they awaited. For the sake of their longing and in accordance with my promise, I took flesh without sin, without concupiscence, entering the body of the Virgin like the sun shining through the clearest crystal. The sun does not damage the glass by entering it, nor was the Virgin's virginity lost when I took my human nature. I took flesh but without surrendering my divinity.

I was no less God, ruling and filling all things with the Father and the Holy Spirit, although I, with my human nature, was in the womb of the Virgin. Brightness is never separated from fire, nor was my divinity ever separated from my humanity, not even in death. Next I willed for my pure and sinless body to be wounded from the sole of my foot to the crown of my head for the sins of all men, and to be hung on the cross. It is now offered each day on the altar in order that people might love me more and call to mind my favors more frequently.

Now, however, I am totally forgotten, neglected and scorned, like a king cast out of his own kingdom in whose place a wicked thief has been elected and honored. I wanted my kingdom to be within the human person, and by right I should be king and lord over him, since I made him and redeemed him. Now, however, he has broken and profaned the faith he promised me at baptism. He has violated and rejected the laws I set up for him. He loves his self-will and scornfully refuses to listen to me. Besides, he exalts that most wicked thief, the devil, above me and pledges him his faith. The devil really is a thief, since, by evil temptations and false promises, he steals for himself the human soul that I redeemed with my own blood. It is not because he is more powerful, as it were, than I am that he is able to steal it, since I am so powerful that I can do all things by a single word, and I am so just that I would not commit the least injustice, not even if all the saints asked me to.

However, since man, who has been given free will, voluntarily scorns my commandments and consents to the devil, then it is only just that he should also experience the devil's tyranny. The devil was created good by me but fell through his own wicked will and has, as it were, become my servant for inflicting retribution on the wicked. Although I am now so despised, nevertheless I am still so merciful that I will forgive the sins of any who ask for my mercy and who humble themselves, and I shall free them from the evil thief. But I shall visit my justice upon those who persist in holding me in contempt, and hearing it they will tremble and those who experience it will say: 'Alas, that we were ever born or conceived, alas, that we ever provoked the Lord of majesty to wrath!'

But you, my daughter, whom I have chosen for myself and with whom I speak in spirit, love me with all your heart, not as you love your son or daughter or relatives but more than anything in the world! I created you and spared none of my limbs in suffering for you. And yet I love your soul so dearly that, if it were possible, I would let myself be nailed to the cross again rather than lose you. Imitate my humility: I, who am the king of glory and of angels, was clothed in lowly rags and stood naked at the pillar while my ears heard all kinds of insults and derision. Prefer my will to yours, because my Mother, your Lady, from beginning to end, never wanted anything but what I wanted. If you do this, then your heart will be with my heart, and it will be set aflame with my love in the same way as any dry thing is easily set aflame by fire.

Your soul will be filled with me and I will be in you, and all temporal things will become bitter to you and all carnal desire like poison. You will rest in my divine arms, where there is no carnal desire, only joy and spiritual delight. There the soul, both inwardly and outwardly delighted, is full of joy, thinking of nothing and desiring nothing but the joy that it possesses. So love me alone, and you will have all the things you wish, and you will have them in abundance. Is it not written that the widow's oil did not fail until the day that the Lord sent rain upon the earth according to the words of the prophet? I am the true prophet. If you believe my words and fulfill them, oil and joy and exultation will never fail you for all eternity.”

Our Lord Jesus Christ's words to the daughter he had taken as his bride concerning the articles of the true faith, and about what adornments and tokens and intentions the bride should have with respect to the bridegroom.

Book 1 - Chapter 2

“I am the Creator of the heavens, the earth, and the sea and of all that is in them. I am one with the Father and the Holy Spirit, not like gods of stone or gold, as people once said, and not several gods, as people used to think then, but one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three persons but one in substance, the Creator of all but created by none, remaining unchangeable and almighty, without beginning or end. I am he who was born of the Virgin, without losing my divinity but joining it to my humanity, so that in one person I might be the true Son of God and the Son of the Virgin. I am he who hung on the cross, died and was buried; yet my divinity remained intact.

Although I died through the human nature and body that I, the only Son, had taken, yet I lived on in the divine nature in which I was one God together with the Father and the Holy Spirit. I am the same man who rose from the dead and ascended into heaven and who now speaks with you through my spirit. I have chosen you and taken you as my bride in order to show you my secrets, because it pleases me to do so. I also have a certain rightful claim on you, since you surrendered your will to me when your husband died. After his death, you thought and prayed about how you might become poor for my sake, and you wanted to give up everything for my sake. So I have a rightful claim on you. In return for this great love of yours, it is only fitting that I should provide for you. Therefore I take you as my bride for my own pleasure, the kind that is appropriate for God to have with a chaste soul.

It is the duty of the bride to be ready when the bridegroom decides to have the wedding, so she can be properly dressed up and clean. You will be clean if your thoughts are always on your sins, on how in baptism I cleansed you from the sin of Adam and how often I have supported and sustained you when you have fallen into sin. The bride should also wear the bridegroom's tokens on her breast, I mean, you should bear in mind the favors and benefits I have done for you, such as how nobly I created you by giving you a body and soul, how nobly I enriched you by giving you health and temporal goods, how kindly I rescued you when I died for you and restored your inheritance to you, if you want to have it. The bride should also do the will of her bridegroom. What is my will but that you should want to love me above all things and want nothing but me?

I created all things for the sake of humankind and placed all things under them. And yet they love everything but me and hate nothing but me. I bought back their inheritance for them, which they had lost, but they have grown so estranged and turned so far from reason that, instead of eternal glory in which there is everlasting good, they would rather have passing glory that is as the ocean spray that rises up one moment like a mountain and then quickly sinks down into nothing. My bride, if you desire nothing but me, if you hold all things in contempt for my sake - both children and relatives as well as wealth and honors - I will give you a most precious and delightful reward.

I will give you neither gold nor silver as your wages but myself to be your bridegroom, I, who am the king of glory. If you are ashamed of being poor and despised, consider how your God has gone before you, once his servants and friends had abandoned him on earth, because I was not looking for friends on earth but friends in heaven. If you are worrying and afraid about being burdened by work and sickness, then consider how severe a thing it is to burn in the fire! What would you have deserved if you had offended some earthly master as you have me? For, although I love you with all my heart, still I do not act against justice, not even in a single detail.

Just as you have sinned in all your limbs, you must also make satisfaction in every limb. However, because of your good will and your resolution to improve, I commute your sentence to one of mercy and remit the heavier punishment in return for a small amount of reparation. For this reason, embrace your small hardships cheerfully so that you can be cleansed and reach your great reward all the sooner! It is good for the bride to grow tired toiling alongside the bridegroom so that she can all the more confidently take her rest with him.”

Our Lord Jesus Christ's words to his bride about her formation in love and honor toward him, the bridegroom, and about the hatred of the wicked for God, and about the love of the world.

Book 1 - Chapter 3

“I am your God and Lord, the one you worship. It is I who uphold heaven and earth by my power. They are upheld by nothing else nor do they have any other supports. It is I who am offered up each day on the altar, true God and true man, under the appearance of bread. I am the very one who has chosen you. Honor my Father! Love me! Obey my Spirit! Defer to my Mother as to your Lady! Honor all my saints! Keep the true faith taught to you by one who experienced in himself the conflict between the two spirits, the spirit of falsehood and the spirit of truth, and with my help conquered.

Preserve true humility! What is true humility if not to render praise to God for the good things he has given us? Nowadays, however, there are many people who hate me and who regard my deeds and my words as painful and empty. They welcome that adulterer, the devil, with wide arms, and they love him. Whatever they do for me, they do it with grumbling and resentment. They would not even confess my name, if they were not afraid of the opinion of others. They have such a sincere love of the world that they never tire working for it night and day and are always fervent in their love for it. Their service is about as pleasing to me as if someone were to give his enemy money to kill his son. This is what they do. They give me some alms and honor me with their lips in order to gain worldly success and to remain in their privileges and in their sin. The good spirit is thus impeded in them from making any progress in virtue.

If you want to love me with your whole heart and to desire nothing but me, I will draw you to me through charity, just like a magnet or lodestone draws iron to itself. I will lay you on my arm, which is so strong that no one can stretch it out and so rigid that no one can bend it back once outstretched. It is so sweet that it surpasses every fragrance and cannot be compared with the delights of this world.”


This was a holy man, a teacher of theology, who was called Master Mathias of Sweden, a canon of Linköping. He wrote an excellent commentary covering the whole Bible. He suffered very subtle temptations from the devil involving a number of heresies against the Catholic faith, all of which he overcame with the aid of Christ, and he could not be overcome by the devil. This is plainly set forth in the biography of Lady Birgitta. It was this Master Mathias who composed the Prologue to these books that begins Stupor et mirabilia, etc. He was a holy man and spiritually powerful in word and deed. When he died in Sweden, the bride of Christ, then living in Rome, heard in her prayer a voice saying to her in spirit: ”Happy are you, Master Mathias, for the crown that has been made for you in heaven. Come now to the wisdom that will never end!” One can also read about him in Book I chapter 52; Book V, in the response to question 3 in the last interrogation; and Book VI chapters 75 and 89.

Our Lord Jesus Christ's words to his bride about how she should not worry or think that the things revealed to her come from an evil spirit, and about how to recognize a good or an evil spirit.

Book 1 - Chapter 4

“I am your Creator and Redeemer. Why were you afraid of my words? Why were you wondering whether they came from a good or an evil spirit? Tell me, did you find anything in my words that your conscience did not dictate to you to do? Or did I command you anything against reason?” To this the bride answered: ”No, on the contrary, they are all true and I was badly mistaken.” The spirit, or the bridegroom, answered: ”I commanded you three things. From them you could recognize the good spirit. I commanded you to honor your God, who made you and has given you all the things you have.

Your reason also tells you to honor him above all things. I commanded you to keep the true faith, that is, to believe that nothing has been made without God and that nothing can be made without God. I also commanded you to aspire to reasonable temperance in all things, since the world was made for human use so that people might use it for their needs. In the same way, you can also recognize the unclean spirit from three things, the opposites of these. He tempts you to seek your own praise and to be proud of the things given you. He tempts you to betray your faith. He also tempts you to impurity in your whole body and in everything, and makes your heart burn for it.

Sometimes he also deceives people under the guise of good. This is why I commanded you always to examine your conscience and disclose it to prudent spiritual advisors. Therefore, do not doubt that God's good spirit is with you, seeing that you desire nothing other than God and are completely on fire with his love. I am the only one who can do that. It is impossible for the devil to draw near to you. Nor is it possible for him to draw near to bad people at all unless I allow it, either because of their sins or because of some secret decision known to me, for he is my creature, just like all others, and was created good by me, although he became evil through his own malice. I am Lord over him. For this reason, they accuse me falsely who say that the people who serve me with great devotion are insane and have a devil.

They make me out to be like a man who exposes his chaste and trusting wife to an adulterer. That is what I would be if I let someone who was righteous and full of love for me be handed over to a demon. But because I am faithful, no demon will ever gain control of the soul of any of my devoted servants. Although my friends sometimes seem to be almost out of their minds, it is not because they suffer from the devil or because they serve me with fervent devotion. It is rather due to some defect of the brain or some other hidden cause, which serves to humble them. Sometimes it can also happen that the devil either receives power from me over the bodies of good people for their own greater reward or that he darkens their consciences. However, he can never gain control over the souls of those who have faith in me and take their delight in me.”

Christ's most loving words to his bride containing the wonderful image of a noble castle, which stands for the church militant, and about how the church of God will now be rebuilt through the prayers of the glorious Virgin and of the saints.

Book 1 - Chapter 5

“I am the Creator of all things. I am the King of glory and the Lord of angels. I built for myself a noble castle and placed my chosen ones in it. My enemies undermined its foundations and overpowered my friends so much so that the very marrow goes out of my friends' feet as they sit fastened to the wood of the stocks. Their mouth is bruised by stones, and they are tortured by hunger and thirst. Moreover, enemies are persecuting their Lord. My friends are now begging and groaning for help; justice is clamoring for vengeance, but mercy says to forgive.

Then God said to the heavenly host that was standing by: ”What do you think regarding these people who have seized my castle?” They all answered with one voice: ”Lord, all justice is in you and in you we see all things. All judgment is given to you, the Son of God, who exist without beginning or end, you are their judge.” And he said: ”Although you know and see all things in me, yet for my bride's sake here, tell me what the just sentence is.” They said: ”This is justice: that those who undermined the wall should be punished like thieves, that those who persist in evil should be punished like usurpers, and that the captives should be set free and the hungry be filled.”

Then Mary spoke, the Mother of God, who had been silent in the first exchange, and she said: ”My Lord and most dear Son, you were in my womb as true God and man. You condescended to sanctify me who was an earthen vessel. I beg you: have mercy on them once more!” The Lord answered his Mother: ”Blessed be the word of your mouth! Like a sweet odor it ascends to God. You are the glory and the Queen of angels and all saints, because God was consoled by you and all the saints made joyful. And because your will has been as my own from the beginning of your youth, I will once more do as you wish.” Then he said to the heavenly host: ”Because you have fought bravely, for the sake of your love I will let myself be appeased for now. Behold, I will rebuild my wall on account of your prayers.

I will save and heal those who were oppressed by force and will honor them a hundredfold for the abuse they have suffered. If the doers of violence ask for mercy, peace and mercy will be theirs. Those who scorn it will experience my justice.” Then he said to his bride: ”My bride, I have chosen you and clothed you in my spirit. You hear my words and those of my saints who, although they see all things in me, yet have spoken for your sake, so that you might understand. After all, you, who are still in the body, cannot see in me in the same way as they who are spirits. I will now show you what these things mean. The castle I spoke about is the Holy Church, which I built with my own blood and that of the saints. I cemented it with my charity and then placed my chosen ones and friends in it. Its foundation is faith, I mean, the belief that I am a just and merciful judge.

The foundation has now been undermined because everybody believes and preaches that I am merciful but almost nobody believes me to be a just judge. They think of me as a wicked judge. A judge would indeed be wicked if, out of mercy, he let the wicked go unpunished so that they could further oppress the righteous. I, however, am a just and merciful judge and will not let even the least sin go unpunished nor the least good go unrewarded. By the undermining of this wall, there entered into the Holy Church people who sin with out fear, who deny that I am just and who torment my friends as much as if they had clapped them in stocks. No joy or consolation is given to these friends of mine. Instead they are punished and reviled as much as if they were diabolically possessed. When they tell the truth about me, they are silenced and get accused of lying. They thirst with a passion to hear or speak the truth, but there is no one who listens to them or speaks the truth to them.

Moreover, I, God the Creator, am being blasphemed. For people say: 'We do not know if God exists. And if he exists, we do not care.' They throw my banner to the ground and trample on it, saying: 'Why did he suffer? What good is it to us? If he would grant our wish, we will be satisfied - let him keep his kingdom and his heaven!' I want to go into them, but they say: 'We would die before giving up our own will!' My bride, see what kind of people they are! I made them and can destroy them with a word. How insolent they are toward me! Thanks to the prayers of my Mother and of all the saints, I remain merciful and patient enough that I am now willing to send them the words of my mouth and to offer them my mercy.

If they want to accept it, I will be appeased. Otherwise they will know my justice and, like thieves, they will be publicly put to shame before angels and men and condemned by every one of them. Like criminals hung on a forkshaped gallows and devoured by crows, they will be devoured by demons but not consumed. Just like the people sentenced to the stocks have no rest, they will find pain and bitterness on all sides. A scalding river will flow into their mouths but their bellies will not be filled, and they will be renewed for their punishment each day. But my friends will be safe, and they will be consoled by the words that come from my mouth. They will see my justice along with my mercy. I will clothe them in the weapons of my love and will make them so strong that the adversaries of the faith will slide back like mud. When they see my justice, they will stand in perpetual shame for having abused my patience.”

Christ's words to his bride about how his spirit cannot dwell in the wicked, and about the separation of the wicked from the good and the sending of good people armed with spiritual weapons to war against the world.

Book 1 - Chapter 6

“My enemies are like the wildest of beasts who can never get their fill or remain at rest. Their heart is so empty of my love that the thought of my passion never enters it. Not once from their heart of hearts has a word like this escaped: ”Lord, you have redeemed us, may you be praised for your bitter passion!” How can my Spirit dwell in people who have no divine love for me, people who are willing to betray others for the sake of getting their will? Their heart is full of vile worms, I mean, full of worldly passions. The devil has left his dung in their mouths; that is why they have no liking for my words. And so with my saw I will sever them from my friends. There is no worse way to die than to die under the saw. Likewise, there is no punishment in which they will not share: they will be sawn in two by the devil and separated from me. I find them so odious that all their adherents will also be severed from me.

For this reason I am sending forth my friends in order that they might separate the devils from my members, since the devils are my true enemies. I send them forth like soldier knights to war. Anyone who mortifies his flesh and abstains from illicit things is my true soldier. For their lance they will have the words of my mouth and in their hands the sword of faith; on their breasts will be the breastplate of love so that no matter what happens they will love me no less. They must have the shield of patience at their side so as to bear all things with patience.

I have encased them like gold in a case: they should now go forth and walk in my ways. According to the designs of justice, I could not enter into the glory of my majesty without enduring tribulation in my human nature. So how will they enter into it? If their Lord suffered, it is not surprising that they should suffer as well. If their Lord put up with the whip, it is no great thing for them to put up with words. They need not fear because I will never abandon them. Just as it is impossible for the devil to get at the heart of God and divide it, so it is impossible for the devil to separate them from me. And since, in my sight, they are like the purest gold, though they be tested with a little fire, I shall not abandon them: it is for their greater reward.”

The glorious Virgin's words to her daughter about the way to dress and the sort of clothes and ornaments with which the daughter should be adorned and clothed.

Book 1 - Chapter 7

“I am Mary who gave birth to the Son of God, true God and true man. I am the Queen of angels. My Son loves you with his whole heart. So love him! You ought to be adorned with the fairest of clothes and I will show you how and what kind of clothes they should be. Just as before you had an underbodice, then a bodice, shoes, a cloak, and a brooch upon your breast, so now you should have spiritual clothes. The underbodice is contrition. Just as the underbodice is worn closest to the body, so contrition and confession are the first way of conversion to God. Through it the mind, which once found joy in sin, is purified and the unchaste flesh kept under control. The two shoes are two dispositions, namely the intention of rectifying past transgressions and the intention of doing good and keeping away from evil. Your bodice is hope in God. Just as a bodice has two sleeves, may there be both justice and mercy in your hope. In this way you will hope for the mercy of God because you do not neglect his justice.

Think on his justice and judgment in such away that you do not forget his mercy, for he does not work justice without mercy or mercy without justice. The cloak is faith. Just as the cloak covers everything and everything is enclosed in it, human nature can likewise comprehend and attain everything through faith. This cloak should be decorated with the tokens of your bridegroom's love, namely, the way he created you, the way he redeemed you, the way he nourished you and brought you into his spirit and opened your spiritual eyes. The brooch is the consideration of his passion. Fix firmly in your breast the thought of how he was scoffed at and scourged, how he stood alive on the cross, bloody and pierced in all his sinews, how at his death his whole body convulsed from the acute pain of the passion, how he commended his spirit into the hands of his Father. May this brooch be ever on your breast! On your head let there be set a crown, I mean, chastity in your affections, making you rather endure lashing than be further stained. May you be modest and worthy! Think about nothing, desire nothing but your God and Creator. When you have him, you have everything. Adorned in this way, you shall await your bridegroom.”

The Queen of Heaven's words to her beloved daughter teaching her how she ought to love and praise her Son together with his Mother.

Book 1 - Chapter 8

“I am the Queen of Heaven. You were concerned about how you should give me praise. Know for certain that all praise of my Son is praise of me. And those who dishonor him, dishonor me, since my love for him and his for me was so ardent that the two of us were like one heart. So highly did he honor me, who was an earthen vessel, that he raised me up above all the angels. Therefore, you should praise me like this: ”Blessed are you, God, Creator of all things, who deigned to descend into the womb of the Virgin Mary. Blessed are you, God, who willed to be in the Virgin Mary without being a burden to her and deigned to receive immaculate flesh from her without sin.

Blessed are you, God, who came to the Virgin, giving joy to her soul and to her whole body, and who went out of her to the sinless joy of her whole body. Blessed are you, God, who after your ascension gladdened the Virgin Mary your Mother with frequent consolations and visited her with your consolation. Blessed are you, God, who assumed the body and soul of the Virgin Mary, your Mother, into heaven and honored her by placing her next to your divinity above all the angels. Have mercy on me because of her prayers!”

The words of the Queen of Heaven to her beloved daughter concerning the beautiful love the Son had for his Virgin Mother, and about how the Mother of Christ was conceived in a chaste marriage and sanctified in the womb, and about how she was assumed body and soul into heaven, and about the power of her name, and about the angels assigned to men for good or bad.

Book 1 - Chapter 9

“I am the Queen of Heaven. Love my Son, because he is most worthy; when you have him, you have everything that is of worth. And he is most desirable; when you have him, you have all that is desirable. Love him, too, because he is most virtuous; when you have him, you have all the virtues. Let me tell you how beautiful his love for my body and soul was and how much honor he gave to my name. He, my own Son, loved me before I loved him, since he is my Creator. He joined my father and mother in so chaste a marriage that there was no more chaste couple then to be found. They never desired to come together except in accordance with the Law, solely for the sake of procreation. When an angel announced to them that they would give birth to the Virgin from whom the salvation of the world would come, they would rather have died than come together in carnal love; lust had died in them.

But, I assure you, out of divine charity and on account of the angel's message they did come together in the flesh, not out of concupiscence but against their will and out of love for God. In this way my flesh was put together from their seed through divine love. When my body had been formed, God sent the created soul into it from his divinity; the soul was immediately sanctified along with the body, and the angels watched over and ministered to it day and night. It is impossible to tell you what a great joy came over my mother when my soul had been sanctified and joined to its body. Afterward, when the course of my life was done, he first raised up my soul, as being mistress of the body, to a place more eminent than others next to the glory of his divinity, and then my body, so that no other creature's body is so close to God as my own.

See how much my Son loved my soul and body! There are some people, however, who wickedly deny that I was assumed body and soul, and there are others who simply do not know better. But the truth of it is certain: I was taken up to God's glory in body and soul. Hear how much my Son has honored my name! My name is Mary, as the Gospel says. When the angels hear this name, they rejoice in their understanding and give thanks to God because he worked so great a grace through me and with me and because they see the humanity of my Son glorified in his divinity. The souls in purgatory rejoice beyond measure, just like a sick man does as he lies in bed and hears a word of comfort from others and it pleases his heart and makes him suddenly glad.

At the sound of my name, the good angels immediately draw closer to the just souls to whom they have been given as guardians and rejoice over their progress. Good angels have been given to everyone as a protection and bad angels as a test. It is not that angels are ever separated from God, but, rather, that they assist the soul without leaving God and remain steadily in his presence while still inflaming and inciting the soul to do good. The demons all dread and fear this name. At the sound of the name of Mary, they immediately let the soul go out of their clutches. Like a bird with its claws and beak on its prey leaves it as soon as it hears a sound, but comes right back when it sees nothing happening afterward, so too the demons let go of a soul, frightened at the sound of my name, but fly back and return to it again as swift as an arrow, unless they see some improvement afterward.

No one is so cold in the love of God - unless he be one of the damned - that the devil does not immediately draw away from him if he invokes my name with the intention of never returning to his bad habits, and the devil keeps away from him unless he resumes his intention of sinning mortally. However, sometimes the devil is allowed to trouble him for the sake of his greater reward, but never to gain possession of him.”

The Virgin Mary's words to her daughter, offering a useful teaching about how she should live, and describing many marvelous details about the passion of Christ.

Book 1 - Chapter 10

“I am the Queen of heaven, the Mother of God. I told you that you should wear a brooch upon your breast. I will now show you more fully how, from the beginning, when I first learned and came to an understanding of the existence of God, I was always concerned about my salvation and religious observance. When I learned more completely that God himself was my Creator and the judge of all my actions, I came to love him deeply, and I was constantly alert and watchful so as not to offend him in word or deed. When I learned that he had given his law and commandments to his people and worked so many miracles through them, I made a firm resolution in my soul to love nothing but him, and the things of the world became altogether repugnant to me.

Then, having learned that God himself would redeem the world and be born of a Virgin, I was so smitten with love for him that I thought of nothing but God and wanted nothing but him. As far as I was able, I withdrew from the conversation and the presence of parents and friends and gave away to the needy everything I had come to own. I kept for myself nothing but meager food and clothing.

Nothing but God was pleasing to me. I always hoped in my heart to live until the time of his birth and perhaps merit becoming the unworthy handmaid of the Mother of God. I also made a vow in my heart to preserve my virginity, if that was acceptable to him, and to possess nothing whatsoever in the world. But if God willed otherwise, my wish was that his will, not mine, be done, for I believed he was able to do all things and wanted nothing but the best for me. And so I entrusted all my will to him. When the prescribed time arrived for the presentation of virgins in the temple of the Lord, I was also present with them thanks to the religious compliance of my parents. I thought to myself that nothing was impossible for God, and that, since he knew I desired nothing and wanted nothing but him, he would be able to preserve my virginity, if it so pleased him: otherwise, let his will be done!

Having listened to all the commandments in the temple, I returned home, burning more with the love of God than ever before, being inflamed with new fires and desires of love each day. For that reason I withdrew by myself even more from everything else and was alone night and day, fearing greatly lest my mouth say anything or my ears hear anything against God or lest my eyes look on anything delectable. I felt the same fear in my silence and was very anxious not to be silent upon those subjects about which I ought rather to have spoken.

While I was thus agitated in my heart and alone with myself, entrusting all my hope to God, at that very moment it came into my head to consider God's great power, how the angels and all creatures serve him, and what his indescribable and unending glory was like. As I was wondering at all this, I saw three wonderful sights. I saw a star, but not the kind that shines from the sky. I saw a light, but not the kind that glows in the world. I sensed a smell, not of herbs or anything like that, but indescribably sweet, which quite filled me up so that I felt like jumping for joy. Right then I heard a voice, but not from a human mouth. I was quite afraid when I heard it and wondered whether it was an illusion. An angel of God then appeared before me in the fairest human shape, although not in the flesh, and he said to me: 'Hail, full of grace!'

On hearing it, I wondered what this could mean or why he gave me such a greeting, since I knew and believed that I was unworthy of any such thing, or of any good thing, but also that it was possible for God to do anything he wanted. The angel said next: 'The offspring to be born in you is holy and will be called the Son of God. It will be done as it pleases God.' I neither thought myself worthy nor did I ask the angel 'Why?' or 'When will it be done?' but I asked: 'How is it to be that I, who do not even know a man, am to become the unworthy Mother of God?' The angel answered me, as I said, that nothing is impossible for God, but 'Whatever he wants to do will be done.'

When I heard the words of the angel, I felt the most fervent desire to become the Mother of God, and my soul spoke out of love: 'Here I am, may your will be done in me!' At that word, right then and there, my Son was conceived in my womb to the indescribable thrill of my soul and all my limbs. When I had him in the womb, I bore him without any pain, without any heaviness or weariness in my body. I humbled myself in every way, knowing that the one I bore was the Almighty. When I gave birth to him, I did so without any pain or sin, just as I had conceived him, with such a thrill of soul and body that I felt like I was walking on air out of the thrill of it all.

Just as he entered my limbs to the joy of all my soul, so to the joy of all my limbs he left me, with my soul rejoicing and my virginity unscathed. When I looked upon him and contemplated his beauty, knowing myself to be unworthy of such a son, joy seeped through my soul like drops of dew. When I contemplated the places where, as I had learned through the prophets, his hands and feet would be nailed at the crucifixion, my eyes filled with tears and my heart was torn by sadness. My Son looked at my crying eyes then and became deathly saddened. When I contemplated his divine power, I was consoled again, realizing that this was the way he wanted it and so it was the right way, and I conformed all my will to his. So my joy was always mixed with sorrow.

When the time of my Son's passion arrived, his enemies seized him. They struck him on his cheek and neck and spat at him as they made sport of him. When he was led to the pillar, he took off his clothes himself and placed his own hands on the pillar, and his enemies then mercilessly bound them. Bound to the pillar, without any kind of covering, just as he had been born, he stood there and suffered the embarrassment of being naked. His friends had fled, but his enemies were ready for action. They stood there on all sides and scourged his body that was clean from every stain and sin. I was standing nearby and, at the first lash, I fell down as if I were dead. When I revived, I could see his body whipped and scourged to the ribs. What was even more horrible was that when they pulled the whips back, the weighted thongs tore his flesh.

As my Son was standing there all bloody and covered with wounds, so that no sound spot was left on him that could be whipped, then someone, aroused in spirit, asked: 'Are you going to kill him thus unsentenced?' And straightaway he cut his bonds. Then my Son himself put his clothes back on. I saw that the place where my Son had been standing was covered with blood, and by his footprints I could tell which way he walked, for the ground seemed to be soaked with blood wherever he went. They had no patience with him to let him get dressed, but pushed and dragged him to hurry him on. As my Son was being led off like a thief, he dried the blood from his eyes.

Once he was sentenced, they placed the cross on him to carry. He did carry it for a while, but then someone came along and undertook to carry it for him. As my Son was going to the place of his passion, some people struck him on the neck, while others hit him in the face. He was hit so hard and with so much force that, although I did not see who hit him, I heard the sound of the blow clearly. When I reached the place of the passion with him, I saw all the instruments of his death ready. When my Son got there, he took off his clothes himself, while the servants said to each other:

'These are our clothes and he will not get them back since he is condemned to death.' My Son was standing there, naked as he had been born, when someone came running up and offered him a veil with which he joyfully covered his shame. Then his cruel executioners seized him and stretched him out on the cross, nailing first his right hand to the crossbeam that had a hole in it for the nail. They pierced his hand at the point where the bone was more solid. With a rope they pulled his other hand and attached it to the crossbeam in similar fashion. Then they crucified his right foot with the left on top of it using two nails so that all his sinews and veins became overstrained and burst. After that they put the crown of thorns on his head and it cut so deeply into my Son's venerable head that the blood filled his eyes as it flowed, blocked up his ears and stained his beard as it ran down. As he stood on the cross wounded and bloody, he felt compassion for me who was standing by in tears and, looking with his bloodied eyes in the direction of John, my nephew, he commended me to him.

At the time I could hear some people saying that my Son was a thief, others that he was a liar, still others that no one was more deserving of death than my Son. My sorrow was renewed from hearing all this. But, as I said before, when the first nail was driven into him, that first blow shook me so much that I fell down as if dead, my eyes covered in darkness, my hands trembling, my feet unsteady. In the bitterness of my grief I was not able to watch until he had been fastened entirely to the cross. When I got up, I saw my Son hanging there in misery and, in my thorough dismay, I his most unhappy Mother, could hardly stand on my feet due to grief.

Seeing me and his friends weeping inconsolably, my Son cried out in a loud and doleful voice to his Father, saying, 'Father, why have you abandoned me?' It was as if to say: 'There is no one who takes pity on me but you, Father.' At that stage his eyes looked half-dead, his cheeks were sunken, his face mournful, his mouth open and his tongue bloody. His stomach was sucked in toward his back, all the liquid having been consumed, as if he had no vital organs. All his body was pale and languid due to the loss of blood. His hands and feet were rigidly extended, being pulled toward the cross and shaped like the shape of the cross. His beard and hair were completely covered with blood.

There he stood, bruised and livid, and only his heart was still fresh, since it was of the best and strongest constitution. From my flesh he had received a most pure and well-wrought body. His skin was so thin and tender that if it was even slightly scourged the blood would flow out immediately. His blood was so fresh that it could be seen in his pure skin. Precisely because he had the very best constitution, life contended with death in his wounded body. At certain moments the pain in the limbs and sinews of his wounded body rose up to his still vigorous and unbroken heart and inflicted incredible pain and suffering on him. At other moments the pain went down from his heart into his wounded limbs and, in so doing, bitterly prolonged his death.

Surrounded by these sorrows, my Son looked at his friends who were weeping and who would rather have borne his pain themselves through his help or have burned in hell forever than to see him tortured so. His sorrow at his friends' sorrow exceeded all the bitterness and tribulations that he had endured in body and heart, due to the tender love he had for them. Then, out of the exceeding bodily anguish of his human nature, he cried out to the Father: 'Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.' When I his most sorrowful Mother, heard those words, my whole body shook with the bitter pain of my heart.

As often as I have thought on that cry since then, it has still remained present and fresh in my ears. As his death drew near and his heart burst from the violence of the pain, his whole body convulsed and his head raised itself a little and then drooped back down again, his mouth fell open and his tongue could be seen to be all bloody. His hands pulled back a little from the place of perforation and his feet had to bear more of the weight of his body. His fingers and arms stretched themselves out somewhat and his back stiffened tightly against the cross.

Then some people said to me: 'Mary, your Son is dead.' Others said: 'He has died but he will rise again.' As everyone was going away, a man came and drove a lance into his side with such force that it almost went out the other side. When the spear was withdrawn, its point appeared red with blood. And it seemed to me as if my own heart had been pierced when I saw my beloved Son's heart pierced. Then he was taken down from the cross. I took his body on my lap; it was like a leper's, all livid. His eyes were lifeless and full of blood, his mouth as cold as ice, his beard like twine, his face grown stiff. His hands had become so rigid that they could not be bent farther down than to about his naval.

I had him on my knee just as he had been on the cross, like a man stiff in all his limbs. After that they laid him in a clean linen and with my linen cloth I dried his wounds and his limbs and then closed his eyes and mouth, which had been opened when he died. Then they placed him in the sepulcher. How I would rather have been placed in there alive with my Son, if it had been his will! These things done, dear John came and brought me to his house. See, then, my daughter, what my Son has endured for you!”

Christ's words to his bride about how he delivered himself up, of his own free will, to be crucified by his enemies, and about how to control the body from illicit movements through the consideration of his sweet passion.

Book 1 - Chapter 11

The Son of God spoke to his bride, saying: ”I am the Creator of heaven and earth, and it is my true body that is consecrated on the altar. Love me with all your heart, because I have loved you and delivered myself up to my enemies of my own free will, while my friends and my Mother were left in bitter grief and mourning. When I saw the lance, the nails, the whips, and the other instruments of suffering ready, I still went on to suffer with joy. When my head was bleeding on all sides from the crown of thorns, and blood was flowing on all sides, then, even if my enemies had got hold of my heart as well, I would rather have let it be sundered and wounded than lose you. So you are extremely ungrateful, if, in return for such great charity, you do not love me.

If my head was pierced and inclined on the cross for you, your head should be inclined toward humility. Since my eyes were bloody and full of tears, your eyes should keep away from pleasurable sights. Since my ears were filled with blood and heard mocking words against me, your ears should turn aside from frivolous and unfitting talk. Since my mouth was given a bitter drink to drink but was denied a sweet one, keep your own mouth from evil and let it be open for good. Since my hands were stretched out by nails, let your works, which the hands symbolize, be stretched out to the poor and to my commandments. Let your feet, that is, your affections, with which you should walk toward me, be crucified as to lusts, so that, just as I suffered in all my limbs, so may all your limbs be ready to obey me. I demand more service of you than of others, because I have given you a greater grace.”

About how an angel prays for the bride and how Christ asks the angel what it is that he asks for the bride and what is good for her.
Book 1 - Chapter 12

A good angel, the guardian of the bride, appeared praying to Christ for her. The Lord answered him and said: ”A person who wants to pray for another should pray for the other's salvation. You are like a fire that is never extinguished, ceaselessly burning with my love. You see and know all things when you see me. You want nothing but what I want. So tell me, what is good for this new bride of mine?” He answered: ”Lord, you know all things.” The Lord said to him: ”All things, whatsoever has been made or will be, exist eternally in me.

I understand and know all things in heaven and on earth and there is no change in me. But, in order that the bride may recognize my will tell me what is good for her, now while she is listening.” And the angel said: ”She has a big and conceited heart. Therefore she needs the rod in order to be tamed.” Then the Lord said: ”What is your request for her, my friend?” The angel said: ”Lord, I ask you to grant her mercy along with the rod.” And the Lord said: ”For your sake, I will do so, since I never perform justice without mercy. This is why the bride should love me with all her heart.”

About how an enemy of God had three demons within him and about the sentence passed on him by Christ.

Book 1 - Chapter 13

“My enemy has three demons within him. The first resides in his genitals, the second in his heart, the third in his mouth. The first is like a seaman, who lets water in through the keel, and the water, by increasing gradually, fills up the ship. There is a flood of water then, and the ship sinks. This ship stands for his body that is assailed by the temptations of demons and by his own lusts as though by storms. Lust entered first through the keel, that is, through the delight he took in bad thoughts. Since he did not resist through penance or fill the holes with the nails of abstinence, the water of lust grew day by day through his consenting.

The ship being then replete or filled with the concupiscence of the belly, the water flooded and engulfed the ship in lust so that he was unable to reach the port of salvation. The second demon, residing in his heart, is like a worm lying in an apple that first eats the apple's core, and then, after leaving its excrements there, roams around inside the apple until the whole apple is ruined. This is what the devil does. First he spoils a person's will and good desires, which are like the core where all the mind's strength and goodness are found, and, once the heart has been emptied of these goods, then he puts in their place in the heart the worldly thoughts and affections that the person had loved more. He then impels the body itself toward his pleasure and, for this reason, the man's courage and understanding diminish and his life becomes tedious. He is indeed an apple without a core, that is, a man without a heart, since he enters my church without a heart, because he has no charity.

The third demon is like an archer who, looking around through the windows, shoots the unwary. How can the devil not be in a man who is always including him in his conversation? That which is loved more is more frequently mentioned. The harsh words by which he wounds others are like arrows shot through as many windows as the number of times he mentions the devil or as many times as his words wound innocent people and scandalize simple folk. I who am the truth swear by my truth that I shall condemn him like a whore to fire and brimstone, like an insidious traitor to the mutilation of his limbs, like a scoffer of the Lord to perpetual shame. However, as long as his soul and body are still united, my mercy is open to him. What I require of him is to attend the divine services more frequently, not to be afraid of any reproach or desire any honor and never to have that sinister name on his lips again.”


This man, an abbot of the Cistercian order, had buried someone who had been excommunicated. When he was saying the commendatory prayer over him, Lady Birgitta, rapt in spirit, heard this: ”He did what lay in his power and buried him. You can be sure that the first burial after this one will be his own. For he sinned against the Father, who has told us not to show partiality and not to honor the rich unjustly.

For the sake of a small perishable gain, this man gave honor to an unworthy person and placed him among the worthy, which he should not have done. He also sinned against my Spirit, who is the communion and community of the just, by burying an unjust man next to the just. He sinned against me, too, the Son, because I have said: ”He who rejects me shall be rejected.” This man honored and exalted someone whom my church and my vicar had rejected.” The abbot repented when he heard these words and died on the fourth day.

Christ's words to his bride about the manner and the reverence she should maintain in prayer, and about the three kinds of people who serve God in this world.

Book 1 - Chapter 14

“I am your God who was crucified on the cross, true God and true man in one person, and who am present in the hands of the priest everyday. Whenever you offer any prayer to me, always end it with the desire that my will and not yours be done always. I do not hear your prayers on behalf of those already condemned. Sometimes, too, you wish something to be done that goes against your salvation, which is why it is necessary for you to entrust your will to me, for I know all things and do not provide you with anything but what is beneficial. There are many who do not pray with the right intention, which is why they do not deserve to be heard.

There are three kinds of people who serve me in this world. The first are the ones who believe me to be God and the giver of all things who has power over everything. They serve me with the intention of obtaining temporal goods and honor, but the things of heaven are as nothing to them, and they would just as soon lose them so that they can obtain present goods. Worldly success in everything falls to their share, according to their wishes. Since they have lost the eternal goods, I recompense them with temporal comforts for whatever good service they do for me, right down to the last farthing and their very last moment. The second are the ones who believe me to be God almighty and a strict judge, but who serve me out of fear of punishment and not out of love of heavenly glory. If they did not fear me, they would not serve me.

The third are the ones who believe me to be the Creator of all things and true God and who believe me to be just and merciful. They do not serve me out of any fear of punishment but out of divine love and charity. They would prefer any punishment, if they could bear it, rather than once provoke me to anger. They truly deserve to be heard when they pray, since their will accords with my will. The first kind of servant will never depart from punishment or get to see my face. The second will not be punished as much but will still not get to see my face, unless he corrects his fear through penitence.”

Christ's words to his bride describing himself as a great king, and about two treasuries symbolizing the love of God and the love of the world, and a lesson about how to make improvement in this life.

Book 1 - Chapter 15

“I am like a great and powerful king. Four things pertain to a king. First he has to be rich, second generous, third wise, and fourth, charitable. I am truly the king of angels and of all mankind. I have those four qualities that I mentioned. In the first place, I am the richest of all, since I supply the needs of everyone and still possess as much after having given. Second, I am the most generous of all, since I am prepared to give to anyone who asks. Third, I am the wisest of all, since I know what is each person's due and what is best for him or her. Fourth, I am charitable, since I am more prepared to give than anyone is to ask. I have, you might say, two treasuries. Weighty materials, heavy as lead, are stored in the first treasury, and sharp-pointed spikes line the compartment where they are kept.

But these heavy things come to seem as light as feathers to a person who starts by turning them over and rolling them, and then learns how to carry them. The things that before seemed so heavy become light, and the things that before were thought to be so sharp become soft. In the second treasury there seems to be glittering gold and precious gems and delicious drinks. But the gold is really mud and the drinks are poison. There are two paths into these treasuries, although there used to be only one. At the crossroads, I mean, at the entrance to the two paths, there stood a man who cried out to three men who were taking the second path, and he said: 'Listen, listen to what I have to say! But if you do not want to listen, then at least use your eyes to see that what I say is true. If you do not want to use either your ears or your eyes, then at least use your hands to touch and prove to yourselves that I do not speak falsely.'

Then the first of them said: 'Let us listen and see if he is telling the truth.' The second man said: 'Whatever he says is false.' The third said: 'I know he is telling the truth, but I do not care.' What are these two treasuries if not love of me and love of the world? There are two paths into these two treasuries: self-abasement and complete self-denial lead to my love, while carnal desire leads to the love of the world. To some people the burden they bear in my love seems to be made of lead, since when they should be fasting or keeping vigil or practicing self-restraint, they think they are carrying a load of lead. If they have to hear gibes and insults because they spend time in prayer and in the practice of religion, it is as if they were sitting on spikes; it is always a torture to them.

The person who wishes to stay in my love should first turn the load over, that is, make an effort to do the good by willing it with a constant desire. Then he should lift it a little, slowly, that is, he should do what he can, thinking: I can do this well if God will help me.' Then, persevering in the task he has undertaken, he will begin to carry the things that earlier seemed heavy to him with such a cheerful readiness that all the hardships of fasts and vigils or any hardship whatsoever is as light as a feather to him. My friends take their rest in a place, which, to the idle and wicked, seems to be lined by spikes and thorns but which offers my friends the best repose, soft as roses.

The direct path into this treasury is to scorn your own will, which happens when a man, thinking on my passion and death, does not care about his own will but resists it and constantly strives to be better. Although this path is somewhat difficult in the beginning, there is still a lot of pleasure in the process, so much so that the things that first seemed to be impossible to carry later become very light, so he can rightfully say to himself: 'God's yoke is easy.' The second treasury is the world. In it there are gold, precious gems, and drinks that look delicious but are bitter as poison once tasted.

What happens to everyone carrying the gold is that, when his body weakens and his limbs fail, when his marrow is wasted and his body falls to the earth through death, then he lets go of the gold and the gems, and they are worth no more to him than mud. The drinks of the world, I mean, its delights, look delicious, but, once in the stomach, they make the head grow weak and the heart heavy, they ruin the body and a person then withers away like grass. As the pain of death approaches, all these delicious things become as bitter as poison. Self-will leads to this treasury, whenever a person does not care about resisting the lower appetites and does not meditate on what I have commanded and on what I have done, but immediately does whatever comes to mind, whether licit or not.

Three men are walking on this path. By them I mean all the reprobate, all those who love the world and their self-will. I cried out to them as I stood at the crossroads at the entrance to the two ways, since, through my coming in human flesh, I showed mankind two paths, as it were, the one to follow and the one to avoid, the path leading to life and the one leading to death. Before my coming in the flesh, there used to be just one path. On it all people, good and bad, went to hell. I am the one who cried out, and my cry was this:

'People, listen to my words that lead to the path of life, use your senses to understand that what I say is true. If you do not listen to them or cannot listen to them, then at least look - that is, use faith and reason - and see that my words are true. In the same way as a visible thing can be discerned by the eyes of the body, so too can invisible things be discerned and believed by the eyes of faith. There are many simple souls in the church who do few works but are saved by means of their faith. Through it they believe me to be the Creator and redeemer of the universe. There is no one who cannot understand and come to the belief that I am God, if only he considers how the earth bears fruit and how the heavens give rain, how the trees grow green, how the animals subsist each in its own species, how the stars are of service to mankind, how things opposed to the will of man occur.

From all this, a person can see that he is mortal and that it is God who arranges all these things. If God did not exist, everything would be in disorder. Accordingly, everything has been arranged by God, everything rationally arranged for the sake of man's instruction. Not the least little thing exists or subsists in the world without reason. Accordingly, if a person cannot understand or comprehend my powers due to his weakness, he can by means of faith see and believe. But, people, if you do not want to use your intellect to consider my power, you can still use your hands to touch the deeds that I and my saints have done. They are so patent that no one can doubt them to be the works of God.

Who raised the dead and gave light to the blind if not God? Who cast out demons if not God? What have I taught if not things useful for the salvation of soul and body and easy to bear? However, the first man says or, rather, some people say: 'Let us listen and test whether it be true!' These people remain for a time in my service, not out of love but as an experiment and in imitation of others, without giving up their own will but carrying out their own will along with mine. They are in a dangerous position, since they want to serve two masters, although they can serve neither one well. When they are called, they will be rewarded by the master they have loved the most.

The second man says or, rather, some people say: 'Whatever he says is false and Scripture is false.' I am God, the Creator of all things, without me nothing has been made. I established the new and the old covenants, they came out of my mouth, and there is no falsehood in them because I am the truth. Accordingly, those who say that I am false and that Sacred Scripture is false will never see my face, since their conscience tells them that I am God, inasmuch as all things occur according to my will and disposition. The sky gives them light, nor can they give any light to themselves; the earth bears fruit, the air makes the earth fruitful, all the animals are determined in a certain way, the demons confess me, the righteous suffer incredible things for the sake of my love.

They see all these things, yet they do not see me. They could also see me in my justice, if they considered how the earth swallows up the impious, how fire consumes the wicked. Likewise they could also see me in my mercy, as when water flowed for the righteous out of the rock or the waters parted for them, as when the fire did not harm them or the skies gave them food like the earth. Because they see these things and still say I am a liar, they shall never see my face. The third man says, or, rather, some people say: 'We know very well that he is the true God, but we do not care.' These people will be forever tormented, because they despise me, their Lord and God. Is not it great scorn on their part to use my gifts but to refuse to serve me?

If they had acquired these things by their own industry and not entirely from me, their scorn would not seem so great. But I will give my grace to those who begin to turn over my burden voluntarily and strive with a fervent desire to do what they can. I will work together with those who carry my load, that is, those who progress day by day out of love for me, and I will be their strength and will set them so on fire that they will want to do more. The people who remain in the place that seems to prick them - but really is peaceful - are those who toil patiently night and day with out wearying but growing ever more ardent, thinking that what they do is little. These are my dearest friends, and they are very few, since others find the drinks in the second treasury more pleasing.”

On how the bride saw a saint speaking to God about a woman who was being terribly afflicted by the devil and who was later delivered through the prayers of the glorious Virgin.

Book 1 - Chapter 16

The bride saw one of the saints speaking to God and saying: ”Why is the devil afflicting the soul of this woman whom you redeemed by your blood?” The devil answered immediately and said: ”Because she is mine by right.” And the Lord said: ”By what right is she yours?” The devil answered him: ”There are,” he said, ”two paths. One leads to heaven, the other to hell. When she beheld these two paths, her conscience and her reason told that she should choose my path. And because she had a free will for selecting the path of her choice, she thought it would be advantageous to turn her will toward committing sin, and she began to walk along my path.

Later I deceived her through three vices: gluttony, greed for money, and sensuality. Now I dwell in her belly and in her nature. I hold on to her by five hands. With one hand I hold her eyes, so she will not see spiritual things. With the second one I hold her hands, so she will not perform any good deeds. With the third one I hold her feet, so she will not stray over to goodness. With the fourth one I hold her intellect, so she will not be ashamed to sin. And with the fifth one I hold her heart, so she will not return through contrition.”

The Blessed Virgin Mary then said to her Son: ”My Son, make him tell the truth about what I want to ask him.” The Son said: ”You are my Mother, you are the Queen of Heaven, you are the Mother of mercy, you are the consolation of the souls in purgatory, you are the joy of those making their way in the world. You are the angels' sovereign Mistress, the most excellent creature before God. You are also Mistress over the devil. Command this demon yourself, Mother, and he will tell you whatever you want.” The Blessed Virgin then asked the devil: ”Tell me, devil, what intention did this woman have before entering the church?” The devil answered her: ”She had resolved to keep from sin.”

And the Virgin Mary said to him: ”Inasmuch as her previous intention led her to hell, tell me, in what direction does her present intention of keeping from sin tend?” The devil answered her reluctantly: ”The intention of keeping from sin leads her toward heaven.” The Virgin Mary said: ”Because you accepted that it was your just right to lead her away from the path of the Holy Church due to her previous intention, then it is now a matter of justice that she be led back to the church on account of her present intention. Now, devil, I will put another question to you: Tell me, what intention does she have in her present state of conscience?”

The devil answered: ”In her mind she is terribly contrite and sorry about the things she has done, and she resolves never to commit such sins anymore but wants to improve as far as she is able.” The Virgin then asked the devil: ”Would you tell me if the three sins of sensuality, gluttony, and greed can exist in a heart at the same time as the three good dispositions of contrition, sorrow, and the purpose of amendment?” The devil answered: ”No.” And the Blessed Virgin said: ”Would you tell me, then, which of these should shrink away and vanish from her heart, the three virtues or the three vices that you say cannot occupy the same place at the same time?” The devil replied: ”I say, the sins.”

And the Virgin answered: ”The path to hell, then, is closed to her and the path to heaven lies open to her.” Again the Blessed Virgin asked the devil: ”Tell me, if a robber lay in wait outside the doors of the bride and wanted to rape her, what would the bridegroom do?” The devil answered: ”If the bridegroom is good and noble, he should defend her and risk his life for her sake.” Then the Virgin said: ”You are the wicked robber. This soul is the bride of the bridegroom, my Son, who redeemed her with his own blood. You corrupted and seized her by force. Therefore, since my Son is the bridegroom of her soul and Lord over you, then it is your role to flee before him.”


This woman was a prostitute who wanted to return to the world because the devil was molesting her day and night, so much so that he visibly pressed her eyes into her head and, while many were watching, dragged her out of bed. Then, in the presence of many reliable witnesses, the holy lady Birgitta said openly: ”Get you gone, devil, you have vexed this creature of God enough.” After she had said this, the woman lay pressed with her eyes on the ground for half an hour and then got up and said: ”Truly, I saw the devil in the vilest of shapes going out through the window and I heard a voice saying to me: 'Woman, you have truly been set free.' ” From that hour on this woman was freed from all impatience and no longer suffered from filthy thoughts, and she came to her rest through a good death.

Christ's words to his bride comparing a sinner to three things: an eagle, a fowler, and a fighter.

Book 1 - Chapter 17

“I am Jesus Christ who am speaking with you. I am he who was in the womb of the Virgin, true God and true man. Although I was in the Virgin, I still ruled over all things together with the Father. That man, who is such a wicked enemy of mine, is like three things. First, he is like an eagle that flies in the air while other birds fly beneath it; second, like a fowler playing on a pipe smeared with sticky pitch, whose tune delights the birds so that they fly to the pipe and get stuck in the pitch; third, he is like a fighter who is first in every match. He is like an eagle, because in his pride he cannot possibly tolerate anyone being above him, and he injures everyone he can get at with the talons of his malice.

I will cut off the wings of his power and pride and remove his malice from the earth. I will give him over to the unquenchable oil where he will be tormented without end, if he does not mend his ways. He is also like a fowler in that he attracts everyone to himself by the sweetness of his words and promises, but anyone who comes to him gets caught in perdition and can never escape from it. For that reason the birds of hell will peck his eyes out so that he will never see my glory but only the everlasting darkness of hell. They will cut off his ears so that he will not hear the words of my mouth.

In return for his sweet words, they will cause him bitterness from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head, and he will endure as many punishments as the number of men he led to perdition. He is also like a fighter who takes first place in wickedness, unwilling to yield to anybody and determined to beat everyone down. Like a fighter, then, he will have first place in every punishment; his punishment will be constantly renewed and never end. Yet, so long as his soul is with his body, my mercy stands ready for him.”


This was a very powerful knight who hated the clergy a lot and used to hurl insults at them. The preceding revelation is about him as well as the following one: The Son of God says: ”O worldly knight, question the wise about what happened to proud Haman who had scorned my people! Was not his an ignominious death and a great degradation? This man derides me and my friends in the same way. For this reason, just as Israel did not mourn the death of Haman, my friends will not mourn the death of this man. He will die a most bitter death, if he does not mend his ways.” And that is what happened.

Christ's words to his bride about how there ought to be humility in the house of God, and about how such a house denotes the religious life, and about how buildings and alms and so forth ought to be donated from goods properly acquired, and about how to make restitution.

Book 1 - Chapter 18

“In my house there should be all that humility which now only gets contempt. There should be a sturdy wall between the men and women, because although I am capable of defending everyone and supporting them all without any need of a wall, nevertheless, for the sake of caution and because of the devil's cunning, I want a wall separating the two residences. It should be a sturdy wall, moderately but not too high. The windows should be simple and transparent, the roof moderately high, so nothing can be seen there that does not suggest humility, The men who build houses for me nowadays are like master builders who take the lord of the house by the hair as he enters and trample him underfoot.

They raise mud up high and put gold underfoot. That is what they do to me, They build mud, I mean, they pile up temporal and perishable goods to the sky, so to speak, while not caring at all about souls, which are more precious than gold. When I want to go to them through my preachers or through good thoughts, they grab me by the hair and trample me underfoot, I mean, they attack me with blasphemy and consider my works and words to be as despicable as mud. They think themselves much wiser.

If they wanted to build things for me and for my glory, they would first build up their own souls. Let whoever builds my house take the utmost care not to let a single penny that has not been rightly and justly acquired go to the building. There are plenty of people who know they possess ill-gotten goods and yet are not at all sorry for it nor have the intention of making restitution and satisfaction for their cheating and stealing, although they could make restitution and satisfaction if they were willing. However, since they realize they cannot keep these things forever, they give a part of their ill-gotten goods to the churches, as if to placate me by their donation. They reserve their other legitimate possessions for their descendants. This does not please me at all.

A person who wants to please me by his donations should first of all have the desire to mend his ways and should then do those good works he is capable of doing. He should lament and bewail the evil he has done and make restitution, if he can. If he cannot, he should have the intention of making restitution for his fraudulently acquired goods. Then he should take care never to commit such sins again. If the person to whom he ought to restore his ill-gotten goods is no longer alive, then he can make a donation to me, who am able to pay back everyone. If he is unable to restore them, provided he humbles himself before me with a purpose of amendment and a contrite heart, I have the means to make restitution and, either now or in the future, restore their property to all those who have been cheated.

Let me explain to you the meaning of the house that I want built. The house is the religious life. I myself, the Creator of all things, through whom all things were made and exist, am its foundation. There are four walls in this house. The first is the justice by which I will judge those who are hostile to this house. The second wall is the wisdom by which I will enlighten the inhabitants with my knowledge and understanding. The third is the power by which I will strengthen them against the machinations of the devil. The fourth wall is my mercy, which welcomes everyone who asks for it. In this wall is the door of grace through which all seekers are welcomed. The roof of the house is the charity by which I cover the sins of those who love me so that they will not be sentenced for their sins.

The window of the roof through which the sun enters is the consideration of my grace. Through it the warmth of my divinity is let in to the inhabitants. That the wall should be big and strong means that no one can weaken my words or destroy them. That it should be moderately high means that my wisdom can be understood and comprehended in part but never fully. The simple and transparent windows mean that my words are simple, yet through them the light of divine knowledge enters into the world. The moderately high roof means that my words will be manifested not in an incomprehensible way but in a comprehensible and intelligible way.”

The Creator's words to the bride about the splendor of his power, wisdom, and virtue, and about how those who are now said to be wise sin the most against him.

Book 1 - Chapter 19

“I am the Creator of heaven and earth. I have three qualities. I am most powerful, most wise, and most virtuous. I am so powerful that the angels honor me in heaven, and the demons in hell dare not look upon me. All the elements are at my beck and call. I am so wise that nobody can succeed in tracking my wisdom. My knowledge is such that I know all that has been and all that will be. I am so rational that not the least little thing, whether a worm or some other animal, no matter how ugly, has been made without a reason. I am also so virtuous that every good flows from me as though from a good spring and all sweetness comes from me as though from a good vine. Without me, nobody can be powerful, nobody wise, nobody virtuous. For this reason, the powerful men of the world sin against me exceedingly.

I have given them strength and power so they might honor me, but they attribute the honor to themselves, as if they got it from themselves. The wretches do not consider their own feebleness. If I were to send them the least little infirmity, they would immediately break down and everything would lose its value for them. How then will they be able to withstand my might and the punishments of eternity? But those who are now said to be wise sin even more against me. For I gave them sense, understanding, and wisdom in order for them to love me, but the only thing they understand is their own temporal advantage. They have eyes in their head but look only to their own pleasures.

They are blind as to giving thanks to me, who gave them everything, since nobody, whether good or wicked, can perceive or understand anything without me, even if I allow the wicked to incline their will to whatever they like. Moreover, nobody can be virtuous without me. I could now use that commonly cited proverb: 'Everyone despises the patient man.' Because of my patience everyone thinks I am terribly foolish and that is why everyone looks down on me. But woe to them when, after so much patience, I make my sentence known to them! Before me they will be like mud that drops down to the depths and does not stop until it comes to the lowest part of hell.”

A pleasant dialogue of the Virgin Mother and the Son with each other and of the Virgin Mother and the Son with the bride, and about how the bride should get ready for the wedding.

Book 1 - Chapter 20

The Mother appeared saying to the Son: ”You are the King of glory, my Son, you are Lord over all lords, you created heaven and earth and everything in them. May your every desire be done, may your every will be done!” The Son answered: ”It is an ancient proverb that says 'what a youth learns in his youth he retains in his old age.' Mother, from your youth you learned to follow my will and to surrender all your will to me. You rightly said: 'May your will be done!' You are like precious gold that is laid out and hammered on a hard anvil, because you were hammered by all manner of tribulation and you suffered in my passion beyond all others. When my heart burst from the vehemence of my pain on the cross, it wounded your heart like sharp steel. You would willingly have let it be cut in two, had that been my will. Even if you had been able to oppose my passion and demanded that I be allowed to live, still you did not will to have it any other way than according to my will. For that reason you did well to say: 'Your will be done!' ”

Then Mary said to the bride: ”My Son's bride, love my Son, because he loves you. Honor his saints, who are in his presence. They are like countless stars whose light and splendor cannot be compared to any temporal light. As the light of the world differs from darkness, so - but much more - does the light of the saints differ from the light of this world. I tell you truly that if the saints were seen clearly, as they really are, no human eye could bear it without being deprived of its bodily sight.” Then the Virgin's Son spoke to his bride, saying: ”My bride, you should have four qualities. First, you should be ready for the wedding of my divinity wherein there is no carnal desire but only the most sweet spiritual pleasure, the kind that is appropriate for God to have with a chaste soul. In this way, neither the love for your children nor for temporal goods nor for your relatives should drag you away from my love. Do not let happen to you what happened to those foolish virgins who were not ready when the Lord wished to call them to the wedding and were therefore left behind. Second, you should have faith in my words.

For I am the truth, and nothing but the truth comes from my lips, and nobody can find anything but truth in my words. At times I mean what I say in a spiritual sense, and at other times according to the letter of the word, in which case my words should be understood according to their naked sense. Thus, nobody can accuse me of lying. In the third place, you should be obedient in order for there to be not a single limb in your body through which you do wrong and which you do not submit to the proper penance and reparation. Although I am merciful, I do not relinquish justice. Therefore, obey humbly and cheerfully those whom you are bound to obey, so that you do not do even that which seems useful and reasonable to you if it goes against obedience. It is better to give up your own will out of obedience, even if its object is good, and to follow the will of your director, provided it does not go against the salvation of your soul or is otherwise irrational. In the fourth place, you should be humble, because you are united in a spiritual matrimony.

You should therefore be humble and modest on the arrival of your bridegroom. Let your handmaid be sober and restrained, I mean, let your body practice abstinence and be well disciplined, because you will bear the fruit of spiritual offspring for the good of many. In the same way as when a shoot is grafted onto a dry stem and the stem begins to blossom, you must bear fruit and blossom through my grace. And my grace will intoxicate you, and the whole heavenly host will rejoice on account of the sweet wine I will give you. Do not lose trust in my goodness. I assure you that just as Zechariah and Elizabeth rejoiced in their hearts with an indescribable joy over the promise of a future child, you, too, will rejoice over the grace I want to give you, and, besides, others will rejoice through you. It was an angel who spoke to those two, Zechariah and Elizabeth, but it is I, the God and Creator of the angels and of you, who speak to you. For my sake, those two gave birth to my most dear friend John. Through you I want many children to be born to me, not of the flesh but of the spirit. Truly, I tell you, John was like a reed full of sweetness and honey, for nothing unclean ever entered his mouth nor did he ever go beyond the limits of necessity in getting what he needed to live on. Semen never left his body, which is why he can well be called an angel and a virgin.”

The bridegroom's words to his bride making admirable use of a fine allegory about a sorcerer in order to illustrate and explain the devil.

Book 1 - Chapter 21

The bridegroom, Jesus, spoke to his bride in allegories, using the example of a frog. He said: ”A certain sorcerer had fine glittering gold. A simple and mild-mannered man came to him and wanted to buy the gold. The sorcerer told him: 'You will not get this gold, unless you give me better gold and in greater quantity.' He answered him: 'I desire your gold so much that I will give you what you want rather than do without it.' After having given the sorcerer better gold in greater quantity, he took the glittering gold from him and put it in a case, planning to make himself a ring from it for his finger.

When a short time had passed, the sorcerer went to that simple man and told him: 'The gold you bought and put in your case is not gold, as you think, but an ugly frog, which was bred in my breast and fed on my food. And in order to test the truth of the matter, open the case and you will see how the frog will leap to my breast where it was bred.' When the man tried to open it and find out, a frog could be seen in the case, the cover of which was suspended on four hinges that were about to fall off. When the lid of the case was opened and the frog saw the sorcerer, he leaped to his breast. The servants and friends of the simple man saw this and said to him: 'Master, his fine gold is inside the frog and, if you like, you can easily get the gold.' 'How?' he asked. 'How can I?' They said: 'If someone were to take a very sharp and heated lancet and thrust it into the frog's back, he would soon get the gold out of that part of the back where there is a hollow. If he cannot find a hollow in it, then he should with every effort thrust his lancet firmly into it, and in that way you will get back what you bought.'

Who is this sorcerer if not the devil, enticing people to empty pleasures and glory? He promises that what is false is true and makes what is true seem to be false. He has possession of that precious gold, I mean, of the soul, which, through my divine power, I made more precious than all the stars and planets. I made it immortal and stable and more delightful to me than the rest of creation. I prepared for it an eternal resting place and dwelling with me. I bought it from the power of the devil with better and more expensive gold by giving for it my own flesh, immune from every sin, and enduring so bitter a passion that not one of my limbs remained uninjured. I put the redeemed soul in a body as in a case, until the time when I would give it a place in the court of my divine presence.

Now, however, the redeemed human soul has become like a foul and ugly frog, leaping in his pride and living in slime through his sensuality. The gold, I mean, my rightful possession has been taken away from me. That is why the devil can indeed say to me: 'The gold you bought is not gold but a frog, bred in the breast of my delight. Separate the body from the soul and you will see that it will fly straight to the breast of my delight where it was bred.' My answer to him is this: 'Since the frog is horrid to look at, horrible to hear and poisonous to touch, and is no good to me and gives me no delight but does so for you, in whose breast it was bred, then you can have it, since you have a right to it. And so when the lid is opened, that is, when the soul is separated from the body, it will fly straight to you, to remain with you forever.'

Such is the soul of the person I am describing to you. It is like an evil frog, full of filthiness and lust, fed at the breast of the devil. I am coming now to the case, I mean, to the soul's body, through its coming death. The case is suspended from four hinges that are about to fall off in the sense that his body is supported by four things, namely strength, beauty, wisdom, and sight, all of which are now beginning to fail him. When the soul is separated from the body, it will fly straight to the devil on whose milk it was fed, since it has forgotten my love in taking up on myself for its sake the punishment it deserved. It does not requite my love with love, but, instead, takes my rightful possession away from me.

It owes greater service to me who redeemed it than to any other, but it finds greater pleasure in the devil. The sound of his prayer seems like the sound of a frog to me, his looks are abominable to me. His ears will never hear my joy; his poisoned sense of touch will never feel my divinity. However, because I am merciful, if anyone were to touch his soul now, although it is unclean, and to examine it to see if there be any contrition in it or any goodness in his will, if anyone were to thrust into his mind a sharp and heated lancet, I mean, the fear of my strict judgment, he could still obtain my grace, if only he would consent to it. If there is no contrition or charity in him, still there might be some hope, provided someone could pierce him with a sharp correction and rebuke him strongly, because so long as the soul lives in the body, my mercy lies open to everyone.

See how I died for love, yet nobody repays me with love, but they take from me what is justly mine. It would be just if people improved their lives in proportion to the efforts it cost to redeem them. Now, however, people want to live all the worse in proportion to the pain I suffered in redeeming them. The more I show them how abominable their sin is, the more boldly they want to sin. Look, therefore, and consider how it is not without cause that I am angry: They manage to change for themselves my good will into anger. I redeemed them from sin, and they get themselves increasingly entangled in sin. So, my bride, give me what you are obliged to give me, I mean, keep your soul clean for me, because I died for it in order that you might keep it clean for me.”

The Mother's gentle question to the bride, and the bride's humble answer to the Mother, and the Mother's useful reply to the bride, and about the progress of good people among the wicked.

Book 1 - Chapter 22

The Mother spoke to the Son's bride, saying: ”You are my Son's bride. Tell me what is on your mind and what you would like!” The bride answered her: ”My Lady, you know it, because you know everything.” The Blessed Virgin said: ”Although I know everything, I would like you to tell me while the persons here present are listening.” The bride said: ”My lady, I am afraid of two things. First,” she said, ”I am afraid that I do not weep for my sins or make amends for them as much as I should like. Second, I am sad because your Son has many enemies.”

The Virgin Mary answered: ”I give you three cures for your first worry. First of all, think about how all things that have spirit, such as frogs or other animals, have troubles from time to time, even though their spirits do not live forever but die with their bodies. However, your spirit, and every human soul, does live forever. Second, think about the mercy of God, because there are none who are such sinners that their sin is not forgiven them, if only they pray with a resolution to improve and with contrition. Third, think about how much glory the soul gains when she lives with God and in God forever.

I give you three cures as well for your second worry about the enemies of God being many. First, consider that your God and your Creator and theirs is also their judge, and that they will never again sentence him, even though he patiently puts up with their wickedness for a time. Second. remember that they are the children of damnation and how hard and unbearable it will be for them to burn for all eternity. They are most wicked servants who will get no inheritance, while the children will receive the inheritance. But perhaps you will say: 'Then should not one preach to them?' Of course! Remember that good people are frequently found among the evil. And adopted children sometimes turn away from what is good, like the prodigal son who went to a far off land and lived an evil life.

But sometimes preaching pricks their conscience and they return to the Father, as welcome then as they had been sinful before. So one should preach especially to them, because, though a preacher may only see wicked people in front of him, he should think to himself: 'Perhaps there are some among them who will become children of my Lord. I will therefore preach to them.' Such a preacher will get a very great reward. In the third place, consider that the wicked are permitted to continue living as a trial for the good, so that they, exasperated by the habits of the wicked, might gain their reward as a fruit of patience. You can understand this better by means of an example. A rose smells sweet, is beautiful to the sight, gentle to the touch, but it only grows among thorns that are sharp to the touch, ugly to look at, and do not give off a pleasant scent.

Similarly, good and righteous people, although they may be gentle through patience, beautiful in their character, and sweet in their good example, still cannot make progress or be put to the test except among the wicked. The thorn is sometimes for the rose's protection, so that it will not be picked before it is in full bloom. Similarly, the wicked offer an occasion to good people not to follow them in sin, when, because of the wickedness of others, the good are held back from coming to ruin through immoderate merriment or some other sin. Wine does not keep its quality well except in dregs, and neither can good and righteous people remain upright and advance in the virtues without being put to the test through tribulation and by being persecuted by the unrighteous. So put up gladly with the enemies of my Son. Remember that he is their judge and, if justice demanded that he destroy them all, he could wipe them out in a moment. Tolerate them, then, so long as he tolerates them!”

Christ's words to his bride describing an insincere man, who is called an enemy of God, and especially about his hypocrisy and all about his characteristics.

Book 1 - Chapter 23

“People think he is a well-dressed, strong, and dignified man, active in the battle of the Lord. However, when his helmet is removed, he is disgusting to look at and unfit for any work. His naked brain can be seen, his ears are on his forehead, his eyes at the back of his head. His nose is cut off. His cheeks are all sunken like those of a dead man. On the right side, his cheekbone and half of his lips have all fallen off, so nothing remains on the right except his uncovered throat. His chest is full of swarming worms; his arms are like a pair of snakes. An evil scorpion sits in his heart; his back looks like burned coal. His intestines are stinking and rotten like pus-filled flesh, his feet are dead and useless for walking.

I will tell you now what all this means. On the outside he is the kind of man who seems to be decked out in good habits and wisdom and active in my service, but he is not like that at all. For if the helmet is removed from his head, I mean, if he were shown to people as he is, he would be the ugliest man of all. His brain is naked, inasmuch as the foolishness and frivolity of his ways are evident enough signs to good men that he is unworthy of so much honor.

If he tasted my wisdom, he would realize that the more he is raised in honor above others, so much more than others should he clothe himself in austere conduct. His ears are on his forehead because, instead of the humility he should have in his high rank, and which he should let shine for others, he only wants to hear his own praises and glory. Instead, he puts on pride and that is why he wants everyone to call him great and good. He has eyes at the back of his head, because all his thought is for the present and not for eternity. He thinks about how to be pleasing to men and about what is required for the needs of the body, but not about how he might please me or about what is good for souls.

His nose is cut off, inasmuch as he has lost the discretion by which he might distinguish between sin and virtue, between temporal and eternal glory, between worldly and eternal riches, between those brief pleasures and eternal ones. His cheeks are sunken, that is, all his feeling of shame in my presence along with the beauty of the virtues by which he might please me are altogether dead as far as I am concerned. He is ashamed to sin for fear of human embarrassment but not at all out of fear of me. Part of his cheekbone and lips has fallen off with nothing remaining except his throat, because the imitation of my works and the preaching of my words along with heartfelt prayer have already fallen off from him so that nothing remains in him but his gluttonous throat. But he finds the imitation of depravity and involvement in worldly affairs altogether wholesome and appealing.

His chest is full of worms, because in his chest, where there should be remembrance of my passion and the memory of my deeds and commandments, there is only a concern for temporal affairs and a worldly desire. These worm their way through his conscience so that he does not think of spiritual things. In his heart, where I should like to dwell and where my love should reside, there resides an evil scorpion with a stinging tail and an ingratiating face. This is because ingratiating and sensible-sounding words come out of his mouth, but his heart is full of injustice and falsehood, because he does not care if the church he represents gets destroyed, so long as he can carry out his selfish will.

His arms are like snakes because in his wickedness he reaches out to the simple-hearted and calls them to himself with simplicity, but, when it suits his purposes, he ousts them like poor wretches. Just like a snake, he coils himself into a ring by hiding his malice and iniquity, so that hardly anyone can detect his craftiness. In my sight he is like a vile snake because, just as a snake is more odious than any other animal, he, too, is for me the most deformed of all, inasmuch as he sets my justice at naught and regards me as someone who is unwilling to inflict punishment.

His back is like coal, but it should be like ivory, insofar as his deeds should be more valiant and pure than those of others in order to support the weak through his patience and through the example of a good life. But, instead, it is like coal, because he is too weak to endure a single word for my glory, unless it benefits himself. Yet he thinks he is valiant with respect to the world. Consequently, since he thinks he stands upright, he will fall, inasmuch as he is as deformed and lifeless as coal before me and my saints. His intestines stink, because, before me, his thoughts and affections stink like rotting flesh, the stench of which no one can bear.

None of the saints can bear him; instead, everyone turns his face away from him and demands a sentence passed on him. His feet are dead, because his two feet are his two dispositions regarding me, I mean, the desire to make amends for his sins and the desire to do good. However, these feet are altogether dead in him, because the marrow of love has all been consumed in him and nothing is left except the hardened bones. And in this condition he stands before me. However, so long as his soul remains in the body, he can obtain my mercy.”


Saint Lawrence appeared saying: ”When I was in the world, I had three things: continence with respect to myself, mercy with respect to my neighbor, charity with respect to God. Therefore I preached the word of God zealously, distributed the goods of the church prudently, and endured scourging, fire, and death joyfully. But this bishop endures and covers up the incontinence of the clergy, liberally spends the goods of the church on the rich, and shows charity toward himself and his own. Therefore, I declare to him that a light cloud has ascended into heaven, overshadowed by dark flames so as not to be seen by many.

This cloud is the prayer of the Mother of God for the church. The flames of greed and of the lack of piety and justice overcloud it so that the gentle mercy of the Mother of God cannot enter the hearts of the wretched. Therefore let the bishop quickly turn to divine charity by correcting himself, by admonishing his subordinates in word and example, and by encouraging them to improve. If he does not, he will feel the hand of the judge, and his diocesan church will be purged by fire and the sword and afflicted by pillaging and tribulation so that it will be a long time before there will be anyone to console her.”

God the Father's words before the heavenly host, and the answer of the Son and Mother to the Father requesting a grace for his daughter the church.

Book 1 - Chapter 24

The Father spoke, while the whole host of heaven was listening, and he said: ”Before you I state my complaint that I gave my daughter to a man who torments her terribly and binds her feet to a wooden stake so that the marrow has all gone out of her feet.” The Son answered him: ”Father, I redeemed her with my blood and betrothed her to myself, but now she has been seized by force.” Then the Mother spoke, saying: ”You are my God and my Lord. My body bore the limbs of your blessed Son, who is your true Son and my true Son. I refused him nothing on earth. For the sake of my prayers, have mercy on your daughter!” After this the angels spoke, saying: ”You are our Lord. In you we possess every good thing, and we need nothing but you.

When your bride went forth from you, we all rejoiced. But now we have reason to be sad, because she has been given over into the hands of the worst of men who offends her with all kinds of insults and abuse. So have mercy on her according to your great mercy, for she is in extremely great misery, and there is no one to console and free her but you, Lord, God almighty.” Then the Father answered the Son, saying: ”Son, your grievance is my grievance, your word my word, your works my works. You are in me and I am in you inseparably. May your will be done!” Then he said to the Mother of the Son: ”Since you refused me nothing on earth, I will refuse you nothing in heaven. Your will shall be fulfilled.” He said to the angels: ”You are my friends, and the flame of your love burns in my heart. I shall have mercy on my daughter because of your prayers.”

The Creator's words to the bride about how his justice keeps the wicked in existence for a threefold reason, and how his mercy spares the wicked for a threefold reason.

Book 1 - Chapter 25

“I am the Creator of heaven and earth. You were wondering, my bride, why I am so forbearing with the wicked. That is because I am merciful. My justice bears with them for a threefold reason and for a threefold reason my mercy spares them. First, my justice bears with them so that their time may be fully completed. Just as you might ask a righteous king who has some prisoners why he does not put them to death, and his answer is: 'Because it is not yet time for the general session of the court where they can be heard and where those who hear can take greater warning.' In a similar way I tolerate the wicked until their time comes, so that their wickedness can be made known to others as well.

Did I not foretell the rejection of Saul long before it was known to men? I tolerated him for a long time in order that his wickedness might be shown to others. The second reason is that the wicked do perform some good works for which they ought to be rewarded down to the last particular. In this way, not the least little good they have done for me will go unrewarded, and they will accordingly receive their wages here on earth. In the third place, it is in order to manifest God's glory and patience. It was for this reason that I tolerated Pilate, Herod, and Judas, although they were going to be damned. And if anyone asks why I tolerate this or that person, let him call to mind Judas and Pilate.

My mercy spares the wicked for a threefold reason as well. First of all, it is because of my enormous love, inasmuch as eternal punishment is long. For that reason, because of my great love, I tolerate them until the last moment in order that their punishment may be delayed by the extended prolongation of time. In the second place, it is in order to allow their nature to be consumed by vices. Insofar as human nature gets consumed by sin, they would experience temporal death more bitterly if they had a younger constitution. A young constitution dies a more protracted and bitter death. In the third place, it is for the betterment of good people and the conversion of some of the wicked. When good and righteous people are tormented by the wicked, it benefits the good and righteous since it leads them to refrain from sin or to gain greater merit.

Likewise, the wicked sometimes have a good effect on certain other wicked persons. When the latter reflect on the fate and evilness of the former, they think to themselves and say: 'What good does it do us to follow them?' And: 'Since the Lord is so patient it is better for us to repent.' In this way they sometimes return to me, because they shudder to do the kinds of things those others do and, moreover, their conscience tells them they should not do those kinds of things. It is said that if a person has been stung by a scorpion, he can be cured by being anointed with the oil in which another reptile has died. In like manner, sometimes a wicked person who sees someone else fall may be stung by remorse and be cured by reflecting on the evilness and vanity of the other.”

The angelic host's words of praise to God, and about how children would have been born if our first parents had not sinned, and about how God showed miracles to the people through Moses and later through himself to us on his own coming, and about the perversion of bodily matrimony in this age, and about the conditions of spiritual wedlock.

Book 1 - Chapter 26

The angelic host was seen to be standing before God. The entire host said: ”Praise and honor to you, Lord God, you who are and were without end! We are your servants and we offer you threefold praise and honor. First, because you created us to be happy with you and gave us an indescribable light in which to rejoice forever. Second, because all things have been created and are maintained in your goodness and constancy, and all things stand at your pleasure and abide in your word. Third, because you created humankind and took a human nature for their sake. We rejoice greatly for that reason, and also for your most chaste Mother who was found worthy to bear you whom the heavens cannot hold and contain.

Therefore, on behalf of the angelic rank that you have so exalted in honor, may your glory and blessing be upon all things! May your everlasting eternity and constancy be up on all things that can be and remain constant! May your love be upon the human race that you created! You alone, Lord, are to be feared for your great power, you alone are to be desired for your great charity. you alone are to be loved for your constancy. Praise be to you without end. unceasingly, forever and ever. Amen!”

The Lord answered: ”You worthily honor me for all creation. But, tell me, why do you praise me for the human race, which has provoked me to anger more than all creatures? I made them superior to an the lower creatures. For none did I suffer such indignities as for humankind and I redeemed none of them at so great a cost. Or what creature besides the human being does not abide by its natural order? He is greater trouble to me than other creatures. Just as I created you to praise me and give me glory, so I made Adam in order that he would honor me. I gave him a body to be a spiritual temple, and I placed in it a soul like a beautiful angel, for the human soul is of angelic virtue and strength.

In that temple, I, his God and Creator, was the third companion. He was meant to enjoy me and find delight in me. Then I made him a similar temple out of his rib. Now, my bride, for whose sake all this is being enacted, you might ask: 'How would they have had children, if they had not sinned?' I shall tell you: Love's blood would have sown its seed in the woman's body without any shameful lust, through divine love and mutual affection and sexual intercourse in which they both would have been set on fire for each other, and the woman would thus have become fertile. Once the infant was conceived without sin or lustful pleasure, I would have sent a soul into it out of my divinity, and she would have carried the child and given birth to it without pain.

The infant would forthwith have been born perfect like Adam. But he showed contempt for this privilege by consenting to the devil and coveting a greater glory than I had given to him. After their act of disobedience, my angel came over them and they were ashamed of their nakedness. At that very moment they experienced the concupiscence of the flesh and suffered hunger and thirst. They also lost me. Before, when they had me, they did not feel hunger or carnal lust or shame, and I alone was their every good and pleasure and perfect delight. While the devil rejoiced over their perdition and fall, I was moved with pity for them and did not abandon them but showed them a threefold mercy. I clothed their nakedness and gave them bread from the earth. In return for the sensuality the devil had aroused in them after their act of disobedience, I infused souls in their seed through my divine power.

And I turned whatever the devil suggested to them entirely to their good. Then l showed them how to live and how to worship me. I gave them permission to have licit intercourse. I had earlier given them my permission and indications, but they were stricken with fear and afraid to unite sexually. Likewise, when Abel was killed and they were in mourning for a long time and keeping abstinence, I was moved with compassion and comforted them. Once my will was made known to them, they began again to have intercourse and to procreate children. I promised that I, their Creator, would be born from among their offspring. As the evilness of the children of Adam grew, I showed justice to sinners but mercy to my elect. With these I was pleased, and I kept them from perdition and raised them up, because they kept my commandments and believed in my promises. When the time of mercy drew near, I let my mighty works be seen through Moses and saved my people according to my promise. I fed them with manna and went before them in a pillar of cloud and fire.

I gave them my Law and revealed to them my mysteries and the future through my prophets. After this, I, the Creator of all things. chose for myself a virgin born of a father and mother. From her I took human flesh and condescended to be born of her without coition or sin. Just like those first children would have been born in paradise through the mystery of divine love and out of their parents' mutual love and affection and with out any shameful lust, so my divinity took a human nature from a virgin maiden without coition or damaging her virginity. Coming in the flesh, true God and man, I fulfilled the Law and all the scriptures, just as it earlier had been prophesied about me. And I introduced a New Law, for the old one had been strict and hard to bear and was nothing but a figure of what was to be done in the future. In the Old Law it had been licit for a man to have several wives, so that coming generations would not be left childless or would have to intermarry with the gentiles. In my New Law it is commanded for a husband to have only one wife and forbidden for him during her lifetime to have several wives. Those who unite sexually through divine love and fear for the sake of procreation are a spiritual temple where I wish to dwell as the third companion.

However, people of this age join in wedlock for seven reasons. First, because of facial beauty; second, because of wealth; third, because of the coarse pleasure and indecent joy they get out of coition; fourth, because of festivities and uncontrolled gluttony; fifth, because it gives rise to pride in dressing and eating and entertainment and other vanities; sixth, in order to bring up their offspring not for God or good works but for wealth and honor; seventh, they join in wedlock on account of lust and the lustful appetite of beasts. These people meet outside the doors of my church with one mind and consent, but their feelings and inner thoughts are completely opposed to me. Instead of my will they prefer their own will, which aims at pleasing the world. If all their thoughts were directed toward me, and if they entrusted their will into my hands and took a spouse in godly fear, then I would give them my assent and would be the third companion with them. But now, although I should be at their head, they do not gain my consent because they have lust rather than my love in their hearts. They go up to my altar and hear there that they should be one heart and one mind, but my heart flees from them because they do not have the warmth of my heart and do not know the taste of my body.

They seek a warmth that will perish, and they seek flesh that will be eaten by worms. Accordingly, such people join in wedlock without the bond and union of God the Father and without the Son's love and without the Holy Spirit's consolation. When the couple comes to bed, my Spirit leaves them at once and the spirit of impurity approaches, because they only come together out of lust and do not discuss or think about anything else. But my mercy can still be with them, if they are converted. For I lovingly place a living soul created by my power into their seed. Sometimes I let bad parents give birth from time to time to good children. More often , bad children are born of bad parents, inasmuch as these children imitate the iniquity of their parents as far as they are able and would imitate it even more if my patience permitted them. Such a couple will never get to see my face, unless they repent.

For there is no sin so grave that penitence does not wash it away. Accordingly, I will turn to spiritual matrimony, the kind that is appropriate to God to have with a chaste body and chaste soul. In it there are seven goods, the opposites of the evils mentioned above. In it there is no desire for fairness of form or beauty of body or pleasant sights but only for the sight and the love of God. Nor is there, second, any desire to possess anything over and above their necessities, what they need to live on, with nothing in excess. Third, they avoid idle and frivolous talk. Fourth, they have no concern about seeing friends or relatives; instead I am the one they love and desire.

Fifth, they long to maintain an inner humility in their conscience and an outer one in the way they dress. Sixth, they never have any intention of leading sensuous lives. Seventh, they engender sons and daughters for their God by means of their good behavior and good example and through the preaching of spiritual words. By preserving their faith intact, then, they meet outside the doors of my church where they give me their consent and I give them mine. They go up to my altar and enjoy the spiritual delight of my body and blood. In delighting in it, they wish to be one heart and one body and one will, and I, true God and man, mighty in heaven and on earth, will be the third companion with them and will fill their heart. Those worldly couples let their appetite for marriage begin in lust like beasts, and worse than beasts!

These spiritual spouses begin in love and fear of God and seek to please no one but me. The evil spirit fills the former and urges them on to carnal delight where there is nothing but stinking rot. The latter are filled with my Spirit and set ablaze with the fire of my Spirit that will never fail them. I am one God in three persons. I am one in substance with the Father and the Holy Spirit. As it is impossible for the Father to be separated from the Son or for the Holy Spirit to be separated from either, and as it is impossible for heat to be separated from fire, so it is impossible for these spiritual spouses to be separated from me. I am with them as their third companion. My body was wounded once and died in the passion, but it will never more be wounded or die. In the same way, those who are incorporated into me through an upright faith and a perfect will shall never die away from me. Wherever they stand or sit or walk, I am with them as their third companion.”

The Mother's words to the bride about how there are three things in a dance, and about how this dance symbolizes this world, and about the Mother's suffering at Christ's death.

Book 1 - Chapter 27

The Mother of God spoke to the bride, saying: ”My daughter, I want you to know that where there is a dance, there are three things: empty joy, loud shouting, and meaningless toil. If someone enters the dance hall sorrowful and sad, then his friend, who finds himself in the midst of the joy of the dance but sees a friend of his entering sad and gloomy, immediately puts aside his joy, leaves the dance, and condoles with his sorrowing friend. This dance is the world that is always caught up in anxiety, which to fools seems like joy. In this world there are three things: empty joy, frivolous speech, and useless toil, because a man must leave behind him everything for which he toils.

Would that a person who is in the midst of this worldly dance consider my toil and sorrow and then condole with me - who left behind all worldly joy - and would that he leave the world behind! At my Son's death I was like a woman who had her heart pierced by five lances. The first lance was his shameful and blameworthy nakedness, for I saw my most chaste and mighty Son stand naked at the pillar without any covering on him at all. The second lance was the accusation against him, for they accused of treason and lying and treachery him whom I knew to be just and true and never to have offended or wished to offend anyone. The third lance was his crown of thorns that pierced his sacred head so savagely that the blood flowed into his mouth and beard and ears. The fourth lance was his mournful voice on the cross with which he cried out to the Father, saying:

'Father, why have you abandoned me?' It was if to say: 'Father, there is no one who takes pity on me but you.' The fifth lance cutting into my heart was his most bitter death. His most precious blood went out of him through as many arteries as the lances that pierced my heart. The arteries of his hands and feet were pierced, and the pain in his pierced sinews went relentlessly to his heart and from his heart back to his sinews, for his heart was vigorous and strong, being knit together of the very best constitution. Life contended thus with death, and his life was more bitterly protracted in the midst of his pain. As his death drew near and his heart was bursting from the unendurable pain, suddenly his whole body convulsed and his head, which was hanging backward, straightened itself somewhat.

He opened his closed eyes slightly, almost halfway. Likewise he opened his mouth so that his bloodied tongue could be seen. His fingers and arms, which had been quite contracted, stretched themselves out. As soon as he had given up his spirit, his head sank toward his chest. His hands drew a little away from the place of the wounds and his feet had to bear more of the weight. Then my hands grew dry. My eyes were covered in darkness and my face became pale as death. My ears could hear nothing. My mouth could not utter a sound.

My feet became unsteady, and my body fell to the ground. Getting up from the ground and seeing my Son looking worse than a leper, I submitted my entire will to him, knowing that everything had happened according to his will and could not have happened if he had not permitted it. And I thanked him for everything. A certain joy was mixed with my sadness, because I saw that he who had never sinned had in his great love wanted to suffer all this for sinners. May those who are in the world contemplate what I went through when my Son died, and may they always keep it in mind!”

The Lord's words to the bride describing how someone came to be judged before God's tribunal, and about the awful and terrible sentence passed on him by God and all the saints.

Book 1 - Chapter 28

The bride saw God looking angry. He was saying: ”I am without beginning and without end. There is no change in me either of year or day. Rather, all the time in the world is like a single hour or moment to me. Everyone who sees me sees and understands everything that is in me in an instant, so to speak. However, my bride, since you are in a material body, you cannot perceive and comprehend like a spirit. Therefore, for your sake, I will explain to you what has happened. I was, as it were, seated in judgment, for all judgment has been given to me, and a certain person came to be judged before the tribunal. The voice of the Father resounded and said to him: 'Woe unto you that ever you were born.'

It was not as though God had repented of having created him, but just like anyone would be sorry for another person and feel compassion for him. The voice of the Son came in answer: 'I poured out my blood for you and accepted a harsh punishment for you, but you have alienated yourself entirely from it and will have nothing to do with it.' The voice of the Spirit said: 'I searched all the corners of his heart to see if I might perhaps find some tenderness and charity in his heart, but he is as cold as ice, as hard as stone. He is none of my concern.'

These three voices have not been heard as if there were three gods, but they were made audible for your sake, my bride, because otherwise you would not be able to understand this mystery. The three voices of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit were then immediately transformed into a single voice that thundered and said: 'By no means do you deserve the kingdom of heaven!' The Mother of mercy remained silent and did not open up her mercy, for the defendant was unworthy of it. All the saints cried out in one voice saying: 'It is divine justice for him to be perpetually exiled from your kingdom and from your joy.' All those in purgatory said: 'We have no punishment harsh enough to punish your sins. You must endure greater torments and you will therefore be secluded from us.' Then even the defendant himself cried out in a horrendous voice, saying: 'Alas, alas for the seeds that came together in my mother's womb and from which I was formed!' He cried out a second time and said:

'Accursed be the hour in which my soul was joined to my body and accursed be he who gave me a body and soul!' He cried out a third time: 'Accursed be the hour in which I came forth alive from the belly of my mother!' Then came three horrible voices from hell saying to him: 'Come to us, accursed soul, like liquid copper draining down to perpetual death and life interminable!' They cried out a second time: 'Come, accursed soul, empty for our malice! For there will be none of us who will not fill you with his own pain and malice.' They cried out a third time: 'Come, accursed soul, heavy like a stone that sinks and sinks and never reaches the bottom where it can rest!

You will descend deeper into the deep than we, and you will not be brought to a standstill until you have reached the lowest part of the abyss.' Then the Lord said: 'Just like a man with several wives who sees one of them fall and turns away from her, and turns to the others who remain steadfast and rejoices with them, so too I have turned my face and my mercy away from him, and turn to my servants and attendants and rejoice with them. Therefore, now that you have heard of his fall and his wretchedness, serve me with greater sincerity than he did in proportion to the greater mercy I have shown to you! Flee the world and the desire of it!

Did I accept so harsh a passion for the sake of worldly glory or because I was unable to get it done more quickly and easily? Of course I was able! However, justice required that, because humanity sinned in each and every limb, satisfaction had to be made in each and every limb. This was why God, in his compassion for humankind and in his ardent love for the Virgin, received from her a human nature through which he could sustain all the punishment mankind was bound to suffer. Since I took your punishment upon me out of love, remain steadfast in true humility, just like my servants, so that you will have nothing to be ashamed of, and fear nothing but me! Guard your mouth in such a way that, if such were my will, you would never speak. Do not be sad about temporal things that are just passing. I can make whomever I want rich or poor. And so, my bride, place all your hope in me!”


This man was a nobleman, a canon and subdeacon, who, having obtained a false dispensation, married a rich maiden. However, being surprised by a sudden death, he did not obtain his desire.

The Virgin's words to the daughter regarding two ladies, one of whom was called Pride and the other Humility, the latter symbolizing the most sweet Virgin, and about how the Virgin goes to meet those who love her at the hour of their death.

Book 1 - Chapter 29

The Mother of God spoke to the Son's bride, saying: ”There are two ladies. One of them has no special name, because she does not deserve a name; the other is humility, and she is called Mary. The devil is master of the first lady because he has dominion over her. One of her knights said to this lady: 'My lady, I am prepared to do whatever I can for you, if only I can copulate with you just once. After all, I am mighty, strong, and brave of heart, I fear nothing and am ready to go to my death for you.' She answered him: 'My servant, your love is great. However, I am seated on a high throne and have only the one throne, and there are three gates between us.

The first gate is so narrow that whatever a man is wearing on his body gets pulled off and torn if he enters by it. The second is so sharp that it cuts through to the very sinews. The third gate burns with such fire that there is no escaping its heat but, instead, anyone entering through it is quickly melted down like copper. Moreover, I am seated so high up that anyone who wants to sit with me - for I have only this one throne - will fall down into the great depths of chaos beneath me.' The devil answered her: 'I will give my life for you, for a fall means nothing to me.'

This lady is pride and anyone who wants to come to her will pass, as it were, through three gates. Through the first gate enters the person who gives all he owns to receive human praise for the sake of pride. If he does not own anything, he exerts his whole will so that he can live proudly and win praise. Through the second gate enters the person who devotes all his labor and everything he does, all his time and all his thoughts and all his strength to fulfilling his pride. And even if he has to let his body be wounded for the sake of honor and riches, he does so willingly. Through the third door enters the person who is never still and quiet but burns like fire with the thought of how he can obtain some worldly honor or position of pride. But when he does obtain his desire, he cannot stay for long in the same state but will have a miserable fall. Nonetheless, pride still remains in the world!”

”I am,” Mary said, ”the one who is most humble. I am seated on a spacious throne. Above me there is neither sun nor moon nor stars nor even clouds, but an unimaginably bright and wonderful calm proceeding from the clear beauty of God's majesty. Beneath me there is neither earth nor stone but incomparable rest in God's goodness. Next to me there is neither barrier nor wall but the glorious host of angels and holy souls. Although I am seated on so lofty a throne, I still hear my friends that live on earth, daily pouring forth their sighs and tears to me. I see their struggles and their efficacy, which is greater than that of those who fight for their lady pride.

I will therefore visit them and gather them together with me on my throne, for it is spacious and has room for everyone. However, they cannot come and sit with me yet, because there are still two walls between us through which I shall lead them confidently so they can come to my throne. The first wall is the world, and it is narrow. Accordingly, my servants in the world will receive consolation through me. The second wall is death. Therefore, I, their most dear lady and Mother, will go to meet them and come to them at death, so that even in death itself they will be refreshed and consoled. I will gather them together with me on the throne of heavenly joy, so that, in boundless joy, they may rest eternally in the arms of perpetual love and eternal glory.”

The Lord's loving words to the bride about how the number of false Christians is being multiplied to the point of recrucifying Christ and about how he is still ready to accept death once more for the sake of sinners, if this were possible.

Book 1 - Chapter 30

“I am God. I created all things for the benefit of humanity in order that all things might be of service and instruction to them. But unto their own damnation they misuse all the things I created for their benefit. They care less about God and love him less than created things. The Jews prepared three kinds of punishment for me in my passion: first, the wood on which, after being scourged and crowned, I was hung; second, the iron by which they nailed my hands and feet; third, the gall that they gave me to drink. Moreover, they blasphemed me as being a fool because of the death I freely endured, and they called me a liar because of my teachings.

The number of such people has now been multiplied in the world and there are few to console me. They hang me on the wood through their desire to sin; they scourge me through their impatience, given that no one can endure a single word for my sake; and they crown me with the thorns of their pride that makes them want to be raised higher than me. They nail my hands and feet with the iron of their hardened hearts, given that they glory in sin and harden themselves so as not to have any fear of me. They offer me distress rather than gall. They call me a liar and a fool because of my passion, which I approached with joy. I am powerful enough to drown them and the entire world for the sake of their sins, in liked. However, if I did drown them, the ones who remained would serve me out of fear, and that would not be right, because people should serve me out of love. If I personally came among them in a visible shape, their eyes would not be able to bear to look upon me or their ears to hear me. How could a mortal being look upon an immortal? Yet, in fact, I would gladly die for the sake of humanity all over again, if it were possible.

Then the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared and the Son said to her: ”What do you wish, my Mother, my chosen one?” And she said: ”Have mercy on your creation, my Son, for the sake of my love!” He answered: ”I will be merciful once again, for your sake.” Then the Lord spoke to his bride, saying: ”I am your God, the Lord of the angels. I am Lord over life and death. I myself want to dwell in your heart. I love you so very much! The heavens and the earth and everything in them cannot contain me, and yet I want to dwell in your heart, which is nothing but a lump of flesh. Whom could you fear or what could you be lacking when you have within you God almighty in whom every good thing is to be found?

There should be three things in a heart that is my dwelling: a bed where we may rest, a seat where we may sit, and a lamp that gives us light. In your heart, then, let there be a bed for quiet rest, where you can rest from the base thoughts and desires of the world. Always keep in mind the joy of eternity! The seat should be your intention of staying with me, even if you sometimes have to go out. It goes against nature to be always standing. The person who is always standing is the one who always has the intention of being in the world and never comes to sit with me. The light or the lamp should be the faith by which you believe that I am able to do all things and am almighty above all things.”

About how the bride saw the sweet Virgin Mary furnished with a crown and other adornments of inestimable beauty, and how Saint John the Baptist explained to the bride the meaning of the crown and the other things.

Book 1 - Chapter 31

The bride saw the Queen of Heaven, the Mother of God, wearing a priceless and inestimable crown on her head, with her wonderfully beautiful hair hanging down over her shoulders, a golden tunic gleaming indescribably bright, and a mantle of the color of azure or of a calm sky. While the bride was all full of wonder at this lovely vision and in her wonderment was standing there as if caught up in helpless amazement within herself, just then, Blessed John the Baptist appeared to her and said: ”Pay close attention to what all this signifies.

The crown signifies that she is the Queen and Lady and Mother of the King of angels. Her hair hanging down signifies that she is a pure and immaculate virgin; the sky-colored mantle that she was dead to temporal things. The golden tunic signifies that she was ardent and burning with the love of God both inwardly and outwardly. Her Son placed seven lilies in the crown, and between the lilies he placed seven gems. The first lily is her humility; the second, fear; the third, obedience; the fourth, patience; the fifth, steadfastness; the sixth, kindness, for she kindly gives to all who ask; the seventh is mercy in necessities, for in whatever necessity a person may find himself, if he invokes her with all his heart, he will be rescued.

In between these resplendent lilies her Son placed seven precious gems. The first gem is her outstanding virtuousness, for there exists no virtue in any other spirit or in any other body, which she does not possess more excellently. The second gem is her perfect purity, for the Queen of Heaven was so pure that not a single stain of sin was ever to be found in her from the beginning when she first entered the world up to the final day of her death. Not all the devils together could find enough impurity in her to fit on the head of a pin. She was truly pure, for it was not fitting for the King of glory to lie in any but the purest, cleanest, and most select vessel among angels and men. The third gem was her beauty, for God is praised constantly by his saints for the beauty of his Mother.

Her beauty completes the joy of the holy angels and of all holy souls. The fourth precious gem in the crown is the Virgin Mother's wisdom, for she was filled with all divine wisdom in God and through her all wisdom is completed and perfected. The fifth gem is power, for she is so powerful before God that she can crush anything that has been created or made. The sixth gem is her shining clarity, for she shines so clear that she even sheds light on the angels, whose eyes shine more clearly than light, and the demons do not dare to look upon her shining clarity.

The seventh gem is the fullness of every delight and spiritual sweetness, since her fullness is such that there is no joy that she does not add to, no delight that is not made fuller and more perfect through her and through the blessed vision of her, for she is filled and replete with grace beyond all the saints. She is the pure vessel in which lay the bread of angels and in which all sweetness and beauty is found. Her Son placed these seven gems in between the seven lilies in her crown. Wherefore, bride of her Son, honor and praise her with all your heart, for she is truly worthy of all praise and honor!”

About how, after God's admonishment, the bride chose poverty for herself and renounced riches and carnality, and about the truth of the things revealed to her, and about three remarkable things shown to her by Christ.

Book 1 - Chapter 32

“You ought to be like a person who lets go and like one who gathers. You should let go of riches and gather virtues, let go of what will pass and gather eternal things, let go of visible things and gather invisible. In return for the pleasure of the body, I will give you the exultation of your soul; in return for the merriment of the world, I will give you the merriment of heaven; in return for worldly honor, the honor of the angels; in return for the presence of family, the presence of God; in return for the possession of goods, I will give you myself, the giver and Creator of all things.

Answer the three questions I am going to ask you. First, whether you want to be rich in this world or poor. She answered: ”Lord, I would rather be poor, since riches do me no other good than to make me anxious and distract me from serving you.” ”Tell me, second, whether you found anything reprehensible to your mind or false in the words that you heard from my mouth?” And she said: ”Certainly not, it is all reasonable.” ”Third, tell me whether the sensual pleasure you earlier had delights you more or the spiritual pleasure that you now have?” And she answered: ”I feel ashamed in my heart to think of my earlier delight and it seems to me now like poison, all the more bitter in proportion to my earlier fervor in desiring it. I would rather die than ever go back to it; it cannot compare to spiritual delight.”

”Thus,” he said, ”you prove to yourself that all the things I have told you are true. What are you afraid of, then, or why are you worried that I am delaying the things I told you would be done? Call to mind the prophets, call to mind the apostles and the holy doctors of the church! Did they find anything in me except the truth? That is why they did not care about the world or the desire for it. Or why did the prophets foretell future events so far in advance unless it was because God wanted them first to make the words known before the deeds came so that the ignorant might be instructed in faith? All the mysteries of my incarnation were made known beforehand to the prophets, even the star that went before the magi.

They believed the words of the prophet and merited to see what they believed in, and they were given certainty as soon as they saw the star. In the same way now, my words should first be announced and then later, when the deeds come, they will be believed on greater evidence. Three things I have shown you. First, the conscience of a man whose sin I made manifest and proved by most evident signs. But why? Could I not destroy him personally? Or could I not plunge him to the depths in a second, if I wanted? Of course I could. However, for the sake of instructing others and in proof of my words showing how just and patient I am and how unhappy this man is whom the devil rules, I endure him still. The devil's power over him has arisen through his intention of remaining in sin and through his delight in it, with the result that neither gentle words nor harsh threats nor the fear of Gehenna can recall him. And quite rightly, too, because, inasmuch as he had the constant intention of sinning, even if he did not put it into practice, he deserves to be handed over to the devil for eternity. The smallest sin is enough to damn anyone delighting in it who does not repent.

I showed you two others. The devil tormented the body of one of them but did not get into his soul; he overshadowed the other's conscience through his scheming and yet did not get into his soul or acquire any power over him. But you might perhaps ask: 'Are not conscience and soul the same thing? Is he not in the soul when he is in the conscience?' Of course not. The body has two eyes to see with, but, even if they lose their power of sight, the body can still be healthy. So it is with the soul. Although intellect and conscience are sometimes troubled with confusion as a means of punishment, nevertheless, the soul does not always get harmed in such a way as to incur guilt. Thus, the devil prevailed over the one man's conscience but not over his soul.

I will show you a third man whose body and soul are completely subject to the devil. Unless coerced by my power and by a special grace, he will never be expelled from him or go out of him. The devil goes out of some people willingly and readily, but out of others only reluctantly and under coercion. For, while the devil enters into some people either due to the sin of their parents or due to some hidden judgment of God, as, for example, into children or the witless, he enters into others due to their infidelity or for some other sin. The devil goes out of the latter willingly if he is expelled by people who know conjurations or the art of expelling demons, and if they do it not for the sake of vainglory or for some temporal gain, for the devil has the power of entering into the one expelling him or again into the same person he gets expelled from, there being no love of God in either of them. He never goes out of the body and soul of those he possesses completely, except through my power.

As vinegar, if mixed with sweet wine, infects all the sweetness of the wine and can never be removed from it, so too the devil will not go out of the soul of anyone whom he possesses, except through my power. What is this wine if not the human soul that was sweeter to me than any other created being and so dear to me that I let my sinews be slashed and my body mangled to the ribs for its sake? Rather than lose it, I even accepted death for it. This wine was conserved in dregs, inasmuch as I placed the soul in a body where it was kept for my pleasure as in a sealed vessel. However, the worst vinegar was mixed with this sweet wine - I refer to the devil, whose evilness is more sour and abominable to me than any vinegar. By my power this vinegar will be removed from the person whose name I will tell you, so that I may reveal my mercy and wisdom through him, but my judgment and justice through the previous man.”


The first man was a highborn and proud cantor who went to Jerusalem without the permission of the pope and was seized by the devil. There is also something about this demoniac in book III chapter 31 and in book IV chapter 115. The second demoniac in the same chapter was a Cistercian monk. The devil tormented him so much that four men could scarcely hold him down. His elongated tongue looked like a cow's. The shackles on his hands were invisibly broken in pieces.

This man was saved by the words of the Holy Spirit through Lady Birgitta after a month and two days. The third demoniac was a bailiff of Östergötland. When he was admonished to do penance, he said to the one admonishing him: ”Cannot the resident owner of the house sit wherever he likes? The devil has my heart and my tongue. How can I do penance?” Cursing the saints of God, he died that very same night without the sacraments or confession.

The Lord's admonishments to the bride regarding true and false wisdom, and about how good angels assist the learned who are good while devils assist the learned who are bad.

Book 1 - Chapter 33

“Some of my friends are like scholars with three characteristics: first, a discerning intelligence beyond what is natural to the brain; second, wisdom without human aid, inasmuch as I myself teach them inwardly; third, they are full of the sweetness and divine love with which they defeat the devil. But nowadays people go about their studies in a different way. First, they seek knowledge out of arrogance in order to be called good scholars. Second, they seek knowledge in order to keep and obtain riches. Third, they seek knowledge in order to win honors and privileges.

Accordingly, when they go to their schools and enter there, I will leave them, since they study because of pride, whereas I taught them humility. They enter out of greed, whereas I had nowhere to lay my head. They enter in order to win privileges, envious that others are more highly placed than themselves, whereas I was sentenced by Pilate and mocked by Herod. That is why I will leave them, because they are not studying my teachings. However, because I am good and kind, I give each one what he asks for.

He who asks for bread will get it, but he who asks for straw will be given straw. My friends ask for bread, because they seek and study the divine wisdom where my love can be found. Others, however, ask for straw, that is, worldly wisdom. Just as straw is useless and the food of irrational animals, so too there is neither use for the wisdom of the world that they seek nor nourishment for the soul. There is nothing but a small reputation and meaningless toil, for when a man dies, all his wisdom is blotted out of existence and those who used to praise him can no longer see him.

I am like a great lord with many servants who, on their lord's behalf, distribute to the people what they need. In this way the good angels and the bad angels stand under my authority. The good angels minister to the people who study my wisdom, I mean those who serve me, nourishing them with consolation and enjoyable work. The bad angels assist the worldly wise. They inspire what they want in them and form them after their will, inspiring speculation along with a great deal of work. Yet, if they would turn their eyes toward me, I could give them bread they did not have to work for and enough of the world to satisfy them. But they never get enough of the world, since they turn sweet into sour for themselves.

But you, my bride, should be like cheese, and your body like the mold in which the cheese is molded until it has the shape of the mold. In this way, your soul, which is as delightful and good-tasting to me as cheese, must be tried and cleansed in the body long enough for body and soul to reach an accord and for both to maintain the same form of continence, so that the flesh obeys the spirit and the spirit guides the flesh toward every virtue.”

Christ's instruction to the bride about the way to live. Also about how the devil admits to Christ that the bride loves Christ above all things, and about the question put by the devil to Christ about why he loves her so much, and about the charity that Christ has for the bride as disclosed by the devil.

Book 1 - Chapter 34

“I am the Creator of heaven and earth, who was true God and true man in the Virgin's womb, who died and rose again and ascended into heaven. You, my new bride, have come to an unknown place. Therefore you must learn four things: first, to get to know the language of the place; second, how to be properly dressed; third, how to organize your days and your time according to the nature of the place; fourth, to get accustomed to new kinds of food. Inasmuch as you have come from the instability of the world unto stability, you must learn a new language, that is, how to abstain from useless words and even from legitimate ones due to the importance of silence and quiet.

You should be dressed in interior and exterior humility so that you neither extol yourself inwardly as being holier than others nor are outwardly ashamed of acting humbly in public. Third, your time should be regulated so that, just as you often used to make time for the needs of the body, so now you should only have time for the soul and never want to sin against me. Fourth, your new food is prudent abstinence from gluttony and from delicacies, as far as your natural constitution can endure it. Acts of abstinence that go beyond the capacity of nature are not to my liking, for I demand rationality and the taming of lusts.

Just then the devil appeared. The Lord said to him: ”You were created by me and beheld all justice in me. Tell me whether this new bride is legitimately mine by proven right! I allow you to see and understand her heart in order that you may know how to answer me. Does she love anything else as she does me or would she take anything in exchange for me?” The devil answered him: ”She loves nothing in the way she loves you. Rather than lose you she would undergo any torment, provided you gave her the virtue of patience. I see a kind of bond of fire descending from you to her that ties her heart so much to you that she thinks of and loves nothing but you.”

Then the Lord said to the devil: ”Tell me what you feel in your heart and how you like this great love I have for her.” The devil replied and said: ”I have two eyes, one of them corporeal, although I am not corporeal, by means of which I perceive temporal things so clearly that there is none so hidden or so dark that it can hide itself from me. The second eye is a spiritual one with which I see every pain no matter how slight and can understand to which sin it pertains. There is no sin so tenuous and slight that I do not see it, unless it has been purged by penance. However, although there are no organs more sensitive than the eyes, still I would much rather have two burning torches uninterruptedly penetrate my eyes than for her to see with the eyes of her spirit.

I also have two ears. One of them is corporeal, and no one speaks so privately that I do not hear and know it with this ear. The second is a spiritual ear, and no thinks of or aims at any sin, be it ever so hidden, that I do not hear it with this ear, unless it has been blotted out by penance. There is a certain punishment in hell that is like a bubbling torrent, streaming out of a terribly hot fire. I would rather suffer this to flow in and out of my ears with out cease than that she should hear anything with the ears of her spirit. I also have a spiritual heart. I would let it be ceaselessly cut to pieces and constantly renewed to be punished again just in order for her heart to grow cold in your love. But, now, since you deal straightly, let me ask a question for you to answer me: Tell me, why do you love her so much, and why did you not choose someone holier, richer, and prettier for yourself?” The Lord answered: ”Because that is what justice demanded. You were created in me and beheld all justice in me.

Tell me, while she is listening, why it was just that you fell so far and what you were thinking when you fell!” The devil answered: ”I saw three things in you: I saw your glory and honor above all things, and I thought about my own glory. Hence I was determined in my pride not merely to be equal to you but even greater than you. Second, I saw that you were the most powerful of all. Hence I longed to be more powerful than you. Third, I saw what was to be in the future and, since your glory and honor were without beginning and would be with out end, I envied you and thought that I would gladly be tortured forever with all manner of harsh punishments if only you could die. With such thoughts I fell. And in that way hell was created.”

The Lord answered: ”You asked me why I love this woman so much. Assuredly, it is because I change all your evil into good. Since you became proud and did not want to have me, your Creator, as an equal, therefore, humiliating myself in every way, I gather sinners to myself and make myself their equal by sharing my glory with them. Second, since you had so base a desire that you wanted to be more powerful than I, therefore I make sinners more powerful than you and sharers in my power. Third, because of your envy toward me, I am so full of love that I offered myself up for everyone.” Then the Lord said:

”Now, devil, your heart of darkness has been shown in the light. Tell me, while she is listening, how I love her.” And the devil said: ”If it were possible, you would readily suffer in each and every limb the same pain you once suffered on the cross in all your limbs together, rather than lose her.” Then the Lord answered: ”If I am so merciful, then, that I do not refuse pardon to anyone asking for it, ask me humbly for mercy yourself, and I will give it to you.” The devil answered him: ”That I shall do by no means! At the time of my fall, a punishment was established for every sin, for every worthless thought or word. Every spirit that has fallen will have his punishment.

But rather than bend my knee before you, I would rather swallow all the punishments myself, as long as my mouth can open and shut in punishment and be forever renewed to be punished again.” Then the Lord said to his bride: ”See how hardened the prince of the world is and how powerful he is against me thanks to my hidden justice! I could certainly destroy him in a second by means of my power, but I do no more harm to him than to a good angel in heaven. When his time comes, and it is now approaching, I shall judge him and his followers. So, my bride, persevere in good works! Love me with your whole heart! May you fear nothing but me! For I am the Lord over the devil and over everything in existence.”

The Virgin's words to the bride, explaining her own sorrow at the passion of Christ, and about how the world was sold through Adam and Eve and bought back through Christ and his Virgin Mother.

Book 1 - Chapter 35

Mary spoke: ”Consider, daughter, the passion of my Son. It felt like his limbs were my own limbs and heart. Just as other children are normally carried in the womb of their mother, so was he in me. However, he was conceived through the fervent charity of God's love, whereas others are conceived through the concupiscence of the flesh. Thus his cousin John rightly says: 'The Word was made flesh.' He came and was in me through love. The Word and love created him in me. He was for me like my own heart. This is why, when I gave birth to him, I felt as though half my heart was being born and going out of me. When he was suffering, it felt like my own heart was suffering. When something is half outside and half inside and the part outside gets hurt, the part inside feels a similar pain. In the same way, when my Son was being scourged and wounded, it was as though my own heart was being scourged and wounded.

I was the person closest to him at his passion and was never separated from him. I was standing near his cross and, as that which is closest to the heart hurts the worst, so his pain was worse for me than for the others. As he gazed down at me from the cross and I gazed at him, my tears gushed from my eyes like blood from veins. When he saw me overwhelmed by pain, he grew so distressed over my pain that all the pain of his own wounds subsided when he saw the pain in me. I can therefore boldly say that his pain was my pain and his heart my heart. Just as Adam and Eve sold the world for a single apple, you might say that my Son and I bought the world back with a single heart. And so, my daughter, think of me as I was at the death of my Son, and it will not be hard for you to give up the world.”

The Lord's answer to an angel who was praying that distress in body and soul might be granted to the bride, and about how greater distress is given to more perfect souls.

Book 1 - Chapter 36

The Lord said to an angel who was praying for his Lord's bride: ”You are like a soldier of the Lord who never takes off his helmet out of weariness and who never takes his eyes off the battle out of fear. You are as steadfast as a mountain, you burn like a flame. You are so clean that there is no stain in you. You beg me to have mercy on my bride. Even though you know and see all things in me, tell me, nonetheless, while she is listening, what sort of mercy you are asking for her. After all, mercy is threefold.

There is the mercy by which the body is punished and the soul is spared, as in the case of my servant Job whose flesh was subjected to all kinds of pain but whose soul was saved. The second kind of mercy is that by which body and soul are spared from punishment, as in the case of the king who lived in all kinds of lust and had no pain either in body or soul while he was in the world. The third kind of mercy is that by which body and soul are punished with the result that they experience both distress in their body and pain in their heart, as in the case of Peter and Paul and other saints.

There are three states for human beings in the world. The first state is that of those who fall into sin and get up again. Sometimes I permit these people to experience distress in their bodies in order that they may be saved. The second state is that of those who would live forever in order to sin forever. All their desire is directed toward the world. If they do anything for me from time to time, they do it in the hopes of their temporal advantages growing and prospering. Neither punishment of body nor very much pain of heart is given to these people.

Instead, they are allowed to follow their own power and desire, because they will receive their reward here below for the least little good they have done me, for theirs will be an everlasting punishment, inasmuch as their will to sin is everlasting. The third state is that of those who are more afraid of sinning against me and offending my will than they are of any punishment. They would rather be tortured with unbearable punishment in eternity than knowingly provoke me to anger. Distress of body and heart is given to these people, as in the case of Peter and Paul and other saints, so that they might make amends for their transgressions in this world; or else they are chastised for a time either for the sake of their greater glory or as an example to others. I have shown this threefold mercy to three persons in this kingdom whose names are known to you.

Now then, my angel and my servant, what kind of mercy do you ask for my bride?” And he said: ”Mercy of soul and body, so that she may make amends for her transgressions in this world and so that no sin of hers will come under your judgment.” The Lord answered: ”Be it done according to your will!” Then he spoke to the bride: ”You are mine and I will do with you as I like. Love nothing as much as me! Purify yourself constantly from sin at all times according to the advice of those to whom I have entrusted you. Hide no sin! Let nothing go unexamined! Do not think any sin to be light or negligible! Anything you neglect I will remind you of and judge. No sin of yours will come under my judgment if it has been expiated in this life through your penance. Those sins for which penance has not been made will be purged either in purgatory or by means of some secret judgment of mine, if satisfaction has not yet been made for them here on earth.”

The Mother's words to the bride describing the excellence of her Son, and about how Christ is now being crucified more harshly by his enemies, the bad Christians, than he was by the Jews, and about how, as a consequence, such people will receive a harsher and more bitter punishment.

Book 1 - Chapter 37

The Mother said: ”My Son had three good things. The first was that no one ever had so refined a body as he did, since he had two perfect natures, his divine one and his human one; and he was so fair that, just as no blemish can be found in the clearest of eyes, so not a single fault could be found in his body. The second good thing was that he never sinned. Other children sometimes bear the sins of their parents as well as their own. This child never sinned, but, nevertheless, bore the sins of everyone. The third good thing was that, while some people die for the sake of God and their greater reward, he died as much for the sake of his enemies as for the sake of me and his friends.

When his enemies crucified him, they did four things to him. First, they crowned him with thorns; second, they nailed his hands and feet; third, they gave him gall to drink; fourth, they pierced his side. But my grievance is that his enemies who are now in the world crucify my Son more harshly than the Jews crucified him. Although you may say that he cannot suffer and die now, still they crucify him through their vices. A man might heap insult and injury on the image of an enemy of his, and, although the image does not feel the damage done to it, nevertheless, the perpetrator should be accused and sentenced on account of his malicious intention to injure. Likewise, the vices by which they crucify my Son in a spiritual sense are more abominable to him and more serious than the vices of those who crucified him in the body.

But perhaps you ask: 'How do they crucify him?' Well, first they put him on the cross they have prepared for him. This is when they take no notice of the precepts of their Creator and Lord. Then they dishonor him when he warns them through his servants to serve him, and they despise this and do as they please. They crucify his right hand by mistaking justice for injustice, saying: 'Sin is not so grave and odious to God as it is said nor does God punish anyone forever, but his threats are only to scare us. Why would he redeem us if he wanted us to perish?' They do not consider that the least little sin a person delights in is enough to send him or her to eternal punishment. Since God does not let the least little sin go unpunished nor the least good go unrewarded, they will always have a punishment inasmuch as they have a constant intention of sinning, and my Son, who sees their heart, counts that as an act. For they would carry out their intention, if my Son permitted it.

They crucify his left hand by turning virtue into vice. They want to continue sinning until the end, saying: 'If we say at the end, just once, ”God, have mercy on me!” God's mercy is so great that he will pardon us.' This is not virtue, wanting to sin without making amends, wanting to get the prize without having to struggle for it, not unless there is some contrition in the heart, not unless a person really wants to mend his ways, if only he could do so were it not for illness or some other impediment. They crucify his feet by taking pleasure in sinning without once thinking of my Son's bitter punishment or without once thanking him from the bottom of their hearts and saying: 'God, how bitterly you suffered! Praise be to you for your death!' Such words never come from their lips.

They crown him with a crown of derision by deriding his servants and think it meaningless to serve him. They give him gall to drink when they rejoice and exult in sin. The thought of how serious and many-layered sin is never strikes their mind. They pierce his side when they have the intention of persevering in sin. I tell you truly, and you can tell this to my friends, that in the sight of my Son such people are more unjust than those who sentenced him, worse enemies than those who crucified him, more shameless than those who sold him.

A greater punishment is due to them than to the others. Pilate knew well indeed that my Son had not sinned and did not deserve death. However, because he feared the loss of temporal power and the sedition of the Jews, he reluctantly sentenced my Son to death. What would these people have to fear if they served him? Or what honor or privilege would they lose if they honored him? They will, accordingly, receive a heavier sentence, being worse than Pilate in my Son's sight. Pilate sentenced him due to fear, in accordance with the petition and intention of others. These people sentence him for their own advantage and without any fear, by dishonoring him through sin that they could abstain from, if they wanted. But they neither abstain from sin nor are they ashamed of their already committed sins, for they do not take into consideration their unworthiness of the kindness of the one whom they do not serve. They are worse than Judas, for Judas, after he had betrayed the Lord, recognized that he was God and that he himself had sinned gravely against him. He despaired, however, and hastened his days toward hell, thinking he was not worthy to live.

These people recognize their sin and yet they persevere in it with no compunction about it in their hearts. Rather, they want to take the kingdom of heaven by a kind of violence and force, thinking they can get it not through their deeds but through a vain hope - vain because it will be given to none but the one who works for it and makes some sacrifice for God. They are worse than those who crucified him. When the latter saw the good works of my Son, such as raising the dead and making lepers clean, they thought to themselves: 'He works unheard of and extraordinary wonders, overcoming anyone at will with a word, knowing our thoughts, doing whatever he likes. If he gets his way, we will all have to submit to his power and become his subjects.' Therefore, instead of submitting to him, they crucified him out of envy.

But if they had known that he was the King of glory, they would never have crucified him. These people, on the other hand, see his great works and miracles every day, they take advantage of his kindnesses. They hear about how they ought to serve him and come to him, but they think to themselves: 'It would be heavy and unbearable to give up all our temporal goods, to have to do his will and not our own.' Accordingly, they scorn his will, lest it be placed over their own will, and crucify my Son through their obstinacy, piling up sin upon sin against their conscience. They are worse than his crucifiers, inasmuch as the Jews acted out of envy and because they did not know him to be God. These, however, know him to be God and, out of their own wickedness and presumption and greed, they crucify him in a spiritual sense more harshly than the others did in a physical sense, for these people have been redeemed, whereas those others had not yet been redeemed. And so, bride, obey and fear my Son, for, as merciful as he is, he is also just!”

A pleasant dialogue of God the Father with the Son, and about how the Father gave the Son a new bride, and how the Son took her with pleasure to be his own, and about how the bridegroom teaches the bride about patience and simplicity through a parable.

Book 1 - Chapter 38

The Father said to the Son: ”I came with love to the Virgin and received your true body from her. You are thus in me and I in you. As fire and heat are never separated, so it is impossible to separate your divine from your human nature.” The Son answered: ”All glory and honor to you Father! May your will be done in me and mine in you!” The Father answered him in turn. ”See, my Son, I am entrusting this new bride to you like a sheep to be guided and fed. Like a sheep-owner, then, you will get from her cheese to eat and milk to drink and wool to wear. As for you, bride, you should obey him.

You have three duties: you have to be patient, obedient, and willing.” Then the Son said to the Father: ”Your will comes with power, your power with humility, your humility with wisdom, your wisdom with mercy. May your will, which is and always will be without beginning or end, be done in me! I shall welcome her to myself into my love, into your power, into the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we being not three gods but one God.” Then the Son said to his bride: ”You heard how the Father has entrusted you to me like a sheep. You must therefore be simple and patient like a sheep and produce food and clothing.

Three people are in the world. The first is altogether naked, the second is thirsty, the third is hungry. The first stands for the faith of my church, and it is naked because everyone blushes to speak of faith and my commandments. And if some people do speak, they are scorned and called liars. My words, proceeding from my mouth, should clothe this faith like wool. Just as wool grows on the body of a sheep through heat, so too my words enter your heart through the heat of my divine and human nature. They will clothe my holy faith in the testimony of truth and wisdom, and they will prove that what is now regarded as meaningless is true.

As a result, the people who up to now have been lukewarm about clothing their faith in deeds of love will be converted when they hear my words of love, and they will be reenkindled in order to speak with faith and act with courage. The second person stands for those friends of mine who have a thirsting desire to see my honor perfected and are upset at me being dishonored. The sweetness they sense in my words will inebriate them with a greater love for me, and, together with them, others, now dead, will be enkindled in my love, when they hear of the mercy I have shown to sinners. The third stands for those who think in their hearts as follows: 'If only we knew,' they say, 'the will of God and in what way we should live, and if only we were taught about the good way of life, we would gladly do what we could.'

These people are hungry to get to know my way, but there is no one to satisfy them, since nobody shows them exactly what to do. Even if they are shown what to do, no one lives according to it. Therefore, the words seem dead to them, because nobody lives according to them. For that reason I myself will show them what they ought to do and I will fill them with my sweetness. Temporal things, which seem to be sought after by everyone now, cannot satisfy human nature but only spur the desire to seek more and more things. My words and my love, however, do satisfy men and fill them with abundant consolation. And so you, my bride, who are one of my sheep, take care to keep up your patience and obedience. You are mine by right and must therefore follow my will. A person who wants to follow the will of another should do three things: first, have the same mind as the other; second, have similar deeds; third, keep away from the other's enemies. Who are my enemies if not pride and every sin? You should therefore keep away from them, if you want to follow my will.”

About how faith, hope, and love were found perfectly in Christ at the time of his death and are found deficiently in us wretches.

Book 1 - Chapter 39

“I had three virtues at my death. First, faith, when I bent my knees and prayed, knowing that the Father was able to snatch me from my suffering. Second, hope, when I persevered resolutely, saying: 'Not as I will.' Third, love, when I said: 'Thy will be done!' I also had physical agony due to the natural fear of suffering, and a sweat of blood left my body. Thus, in order that my friends should not tremble at being abandoned when the moment of trial comes to them, I demonstrated for them in myself that the weak flesh always runs away from pain.

But perhaps you ask how my body gave off a sweat of blood. Well, in the same way as the blood of a sick person dries up and gets consumed in his veins, my blood got consumed because of the natural anguish of death. Wanting to show the way by which heaven would be opened and how people could enter it after their exile, the Father lovingly then delivered me over to my passion in order that my body would be gloriously glorified once the passion had been accomplished. For my human nature could not justly enter into its glory without suffering, although I was able to do so through the power of my divine nature.

Why then should people with little faith, vain hope, and no love deserve to enter into my glory? If they had faith in eternal joy and in the terrible punishment, they would desire nothing but me. If they really believed that I see and know all things and have power over everything and that I require a judgment for everyone, the world would seem repugnant to them, and they would be afraid of sinning in my presence due to fear of me rather than of human opinion. If they had a firm hope, then all their thought and understanding would be directed toward me. If they had divine love, their minds would at least think about what I did for them, the efforts I made in preaching, how much pain I had in my passion, how much love I had at my death - so much love that I preferred to die rather than lose them.

But their faith is weak and wavering, threatening a speedy fall, because they are ready to believe when the impulses of temptation are absent, but they lose confidence when they meet with adversity. Their hope is vain, because they hope that their sin will be forgiven without a trial and without a proper sentence. They are confident they will get the kingdom of heaven for free. They want to receive my mercy untempered by justice. Their love toward me is cold, for they are never on fire in seeking me out, unless forced to it by tribulation. How can I grow warm toward people who have neither an upright faith nor a firm hope nor a fervent love for me? Consequently, when they cry out to me and say 'God, have mercy on me!' they will not deserve to be heard or to enter into my glory. Since they do not want to accompany their Lord in suffering, they will not accompany him in glory. No soldier can please his lord and be welcomed back into favor after a lapse, unless he first humbles himself in order to make up for his disdain.”

Words in which the Creator puts three gracious questions to the bride: first about the husband's servitude and the wife's domination; second about the husband's work and the wife's spending; third about the Lord being disdained and the servant honored.

Book 1 - Chapter 40

“I am your Creator and Lord. Answer me the three questions I am going to ask you. What is the situation in a house where the wife is dressed like a lady and the husband like a servant? Is that right? She answered inwardly in her conscience: ”No, Lord, it is not right.” And the Lord said: ”I am the Lord of all things and the King of angels. I dressed my servant, I mean, my human nature, with a view only to usefulness and necessity. I looked for nothing in the world apart from meager food and clothing. You, however, who are my bride, you want to be like a lady, with wealth and honor, being held in honor. What is the good of all that? All things are vanity and all things will have to be given up. Humankind was not created for such superfluity but to have what nature needs.

Pride invented superfluity, and now it is held to be and desired as the norm. Second, tell me is it right for the husband to work from morning to evening while his wife wastes in a single hour everything he has amassed?” She answered: ”It is not right. Instead, the wife is bound to live and act after the will of her husband.” And the Lord said: ”I acted like the man working from morning to evening. I worked from my youth up to the time of my suffering, showing the way to heaven by preaching and by putting my preaching into practice.

The wife, I mean, the human soul, who ought to be like my wife, wastes all my labor through luxurious living. As a result, nothing I have done can be of benefit to her nor do I find any virtue in her to delight me. Third, tell me, is it not wrong and detestable for the master of a household to be despised and for the servant to be honored?” And she said: ”Yes, it surely is.” The Lord said: ”I am the Lord of all things. My household is the world. All of humanity should rightfully be my servants. However, I, the Lord, am now despised in the world while humanity is honored. You, therefore, whom I have chosen, take care to carry out my will, because everything in the world is nothing but ocean spray and a false dream!”

The Creator's words, in the presence of the heavenly host and the bride, in which he complains about five men representing the pope and his clergy, the wicked laity, the Jews and the pagans. Also about the help sent to his friends, who stand for all mankind, and about the harsh sentence passed on his enemies.

Book 1 - Chapter 41

“I am the Creator of all things. I was born from the Father before Lucifer came to be. I exist inseparably in the Father and the Father in me and one Spirit in both. Accordingly, there is one God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - and not three gods. I am he who made the promise of an eternal inheritance to Abraham and led my people out of Egypt through Moses. I am he who spoke through the prophets. The Father placed me in the womb of the Virgin, without separating himself from me but remaining inseparably with me, in order that mankind, who had abandoned God, might return to God through my love. Now, however, in your presence, heavenly host, although you see and know all things in me, for the sake of the knowledge and instruction of this bride here, who cannot perceive spiritual things except by means of physical ones, I state my grievance before you regarding the five men here present, for they are offensive to me in many ways.

In the same way as once I included the whole Israelite nation under the name of Israel in the Law, so now by these five men I mean everyone in the world. The first man stands for the leader of the church and for his priests, the second for the wicked laity, the third for the Jews, the fourth for the pagans, the fifth for my friends. With regard to you, Jew, I make an exception for all the Jews who are secretly Christians and who serve me in sincere charity and upright faith and perfect works in secret. And with regard to you, Pagan, I make an exception for all those who would gladly walk in the way of my commandments, if only they knew how and if they were instructed, but who try to put into practice as much as they know and are able.

These will by no means be sentenced together with you. I now state my grievance about you, head of my church, you who sit on my seat. I gave this seat to Peter and his successors to sit on with a threefold dignity and authority: first, in order that they might have the power of binding and loosing souls from sin; second, so that they would open heaven for penitents; third, so that they would close heaven to the damned and to those who scorn me. But you, who should be absolving souls and presenting them to me, you are really a slayer of souls.

I set up Peter as shepherd and servant of my sheep. But you scatter and wound them; you are worse than Lucifer. He was envious of me and longed to kill none but me so that he might rule in my stead. But you are all the worse in that not only do you kill me by cutting me off from yourself through your bad works but you also kill souls through your bad example. I redeemed souls with my blood and entrusted them to you as to a faithful friend. But you hand them back to the enemy from whom I redeemed them. You are more unjust than Pilate. He only sentenced me to death. But you not only sentence me as if I were a worthless lord of nothing, you also sentence the souls of my chosen ones and let the guilty go free. You are more merciless than Judas. He only sold me. But you not only sell me but also the souls of my chosen ones for your own base profit and empty reputation. You are more abominable than the Jews. They only crucified my body. But you crucify and punish the souls of my chosen ones for whom your evil and your transgression are harsher than any sword.

And so, since you are like Lucifer and more unjust than Pilate and more merciless than Judas and more abominable than the Jews, my grievance about you is justified. The Lord said to the second man, that is, to the laity: ”I created all things for your use. You gave your consent to me and I to you. You pledged me your faith and promised by your oath that you would serve me. Now, however, you have departed from me like someone who does not know God. You regard my words as a lie, my works as meaningless. You say my will and my commandments are too heavy. You have violated the faith you pledged. You have broken your oath and abandoned my name. You have disassociated yourself from the company of my saints and have joined the company of the devils and become their associate. You do not think anyone is worthy of praise and honor except yourself.

You find difficult everything having to do with me and that you are obliged to do for me, while the things you like to do are easy for you. That is why my grievance concerning you is justified, for you have broken the faith you pledged me both in baptism and subsequently. On top of that, you even charge me with lying about the love I have shown you in word and deed. You say I was a fool for suffering.” He said to the third man, that is, to the Jews: ”I commenced my love affair with you. I chose you as my people, I led you up from slavery, I gave you my law, I brought you into the land I had promised your fathers and sent you prophets to console you. Then I chose a virgin from among you and took a human nature from her. My grievance concerning you is that you still refuse to believe in me, saying: 'The Christ has not yet come but has still to come.' ”

The Lord said to the fourth man, that is, to the Gentile: ”I created and redeemed you to be a Christian. I did you every good. But you are like someone out of his senses, because you do not know what you are doing. You are like a blind man, because you do not know where you are headed. You worship the creature instead of the Creator, the false instead of the true. You bend your knee before things inferior to yourself. That is the cause of my grievance concerning you.” He said to the fifth man: ”Come closer, friend!” And he addressed the heavenly host directly: ”Dear friends, my friend here stands for many friends. He is like a man closed in among the wicked and harshly held captive. When he speaks the truth, they throw stones at his mouth. When he does something good, they thrust a spear into his breast. Alas, my friends and saints, how can I endure such people and how long shall I put up with such contempt?”

Saint John the Baptist answered: ”You are like a spotless mirror. We see and know all things in you as in a mirror without any need for words. You are the incomparable sweetness in which we taste every good thing. You are like the sharpest of swords and a fair judge.” The Lord answered him: ”My friend, what you said was true. My chosen ones see all goodness and justice in me. Even the evil spirits do so, although not in the light but in their own conscience. Like a man in prison who had earlier learned his letters and still knows them, even though he is in darkness and does not see them, the demons, even though they do not see my justice in the light of my clarity, still know and see it in their conscience. I am like a sword that cuts in two. I give each person what he or she deserves.” Then the Lord added, speaking to Blessed Peter: ”You are the founder of the faith and of my church. While my army is listening, state the sentence of these five men!”

Peter answered: ”Praise and honor to you, Lord, for the love you have shown to your earth! May all your host bless you, for you cause us to see and know in you all the things that have been and will be! We see and know all things in you. It is truly just that the first man, the one who sits upon your seat while doing the deeds of Lucifer, should ignominiously surrender the seat he presumed to sit on and become a sharer in the punishment of Lucifer. The sentence of the second man is that he who has abandoned your faith should descend to hell head down and feet up, for he despised you who should be his head and loved himself. The sentence of the third is that he will not see your face and will be punished for his wickedness and greed, since unbelievers do not deserve to see the sight of you.

The sentence of the fourth is that he should be locked up and confined in darkness like a man out of his senses. The sentence of the fifth is that help should be sent to him.” When the Lord heard this, he answered: ”I swear by God the Father, whose voice John the Baptist heard at the Jordan, I swear by the body which John baptized, saw, and touched at the Jordan, I swear by the Spirit who appeared in the form of a dove at the Jordan, that I shall do justice to these five.”

Then the Lord added, saying to the first of the five men: ”The sword of my severity will go into your body, entering at the top of your head and penetrating so deeply and firmly that it can never be drawn out. Your chair will sink like a weighty stone and not come to rest until it hits the lowest part of the deep. Your fingers, I mean, your advisers, will burn in an inextinguishable and sulphurous fire. Your arms, I mean, your vicars, who should have reached out for the benefit of souls but reached out instead for worldly profit and honor, will be sentenced to the punishment of which David speaks: 'May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow and may strangers take over his property.' What does 'his wife' mean if not the soul that is left out of the glory of heaven and will be widowed from God? 'His children,' that is, the virtues they seemed to possess, and my simple folk, those who were placed under them, will be separated from them. Their rank and property will fall to others, and they will inherit eternal shame instead of their privileged rank.

Their headgear will sink into hell's mud, and they themselves will never get up out of it. Thus, just as through honor and pride they rose above others here on earth, so in hell they will sink so much more deeply than others that it will be impossible for them to rise. Their limbs, I mean, all the fawning priests who followed them, will be cut off from them and taken apart just like a wall that is torn down where stone is not left upon stone and the cement no longer adheres to the stones.

Mercy will not come to them, for my love will never warm them nor build them into an eternal mansion in heaven. Instead, stripped of every good, they will be endlessly tormented along with their headmen. I say to the second man: Since you do not want to keep the faith promised to me or show love toward me, I will send to you an animal that will come from the impetuous torrent to swallow you. And as a torrent always runs downward, so the animal will carry you down to the lowest parts of hell. As impossible as it is for you to travel upstream against an impetuous torrent, it will be just as hard for you ever to ascend from hell.

I say to the third man: Since you, Jew, do not want to believe that I have come, therefore, when I come for the second judgment, you will see me not in my glory but in your conscience, and you will ascertain that all the things I said to you were true. Then there remains for you to be punished as you deserve. I say to the fourth man: Since you do not care to believe or want to know, your own darkness will be your light, and your heart will be enlightened to understand that my judgments are true, but, however, you will not come to the light. I say to the fifth man: I shall do three things for you. First, I will fill you inwardly with my warmth. Second, I will make your mouth harder and firmer than any stone, so that the stones thrown at you will bounce back.
Third, I will arm you with my weapons so that no spear will harm you but everything will give way before you like wax in the face of fire. Be therefore made strong and stand like a man! Like a soldier in war who awaits the help of his lord and fights as long as he still has some fluid in him, so too you, stand firm and fight! The Lord, your God, whom none can withstand, will give you help. And since you are few in number, I will give you honor and make you many. Behold, my friends, you see these things and know them in me, and thus they stand before me. The words I have now spoken will be fulfilled. These men will never enter into my kingdom, as long as I am king, unless they mend their ways. For heaven will be given to none but those who humble themselves and do penance.” Then all the host answered: ”Praise be to you, Lord God, who are without beginning or end!”

The Virgin's words of exhortation to the bride concerning how she ought to love her Son above all things, and about how every virtue and grace is contained in the glorious Virgin.

Book 1 - Chapter 42

The Mother spoke: ”I had three virtues by which I pleased my Son. I had such humility that no creature, whether angel or man, was humbler than I. Second, I had obedience by which I strove to obey my Son in all things. Third, I had outstanding charity. For this reason I have received threefold honor from my Son. First, I was given more honor than angels and men, so that there is no virtue in God that does not shine in me, although he is the source and Creator of all things. But I am the creature to whom he has granted the most grace in comparison with others.

Second, in return for my obedience I acquired such power that there is no sinner, however unclean, who will not receive pardon if he turns to me with a purpose of amendment and a contrite heart. Third, in return for my charity, God has drawn so close to me that whoever sees God sees me, and whoever sees me can see the divine and human nature in me and me in God as though in a mirror. For whoever sees God sees three persons in him and whoever sees me sees, as it were, three persons. For God has clasped me in soul and body to himself and has filled me with every virtue, so that there is no virtue in God that does not shine in me, although God is the Father and giver of all virtues. As with two conjoined bodies - the one receives whatever the other receives - so God has done with me. No sweetness exists that is not in me.

It is like someone who has a nut and shares a part of it with another person. My soul and body are purer than the sun and cleaner than a mirror. Hence, just as three persons would be seen in a mirror if they stood before it, so too the Father and Son and Holy Spirit can be seen in my purity. Once I had my Son in my womb together with his divine nature. Now he is to be seen in me with both his divine and human natures as in a mirror, for I have been glorified. So, bride of my Son, strive to imitate my humility and love nothing but my Son!”

The Son's words to the bride about how people rise up from a small good to the perfect good and sink down from a small evil to the greatest punishment.

Book 1 - Chapter 43

The Son said: ”Sometimes a great reward arises out of a little good. The date-palm has a wonderful odor, and in its fruit there is a stone. If this seed is planted in rich soil, it sprouts and blossoms and grows into a tall tree. But if it is planted in barren soil, it dries out. The soil that delights in sin is wholly barren of goodness. If the seed of the virtues is sown there, it does not sprout. Rich is the soil of the mind that knows its sin and laments having sinned. If the date-stone, that is, the thought of my severe judgment and power, is sown there, it strikes three roots in the mind. The first root is the realization that a person can do nothing with out my aid.

This makes him open his mouth in petition to me. The second root is to begin giving some small alms for the sake of my name. The third root is to withdraw from one's own affairs in order to serve me. The person then begins to practice abstinence and fasting and self-denial: this is the trunk of the tree. After that, the branches of charity grow as he leads every one he can toward the good. Then the fruit grows as he instructs others according to his knowledge and piously tries to find ways of giving me greater glory.

This kind of fruit is most pleasing to me. In this way, from a small beginning one rises up to perfection. As the seed takes root at first through a little piety, the body grows through abstinence, the branches are multiplied through charity, the fruit grows fat through preaching. In the same manner, a person sinks down from a small evil to the greatest condemnation and punishment. Do you know what the heaviest burden is for growing things? Surely it is the burden of an infant who is about to be born but cannot be delivered and dies inside the womb of the mother, and the mother also ruptures and dies from it, and the father carries her off to the tomb along with the child and buries her with the rotting matter. This is what the devil does to the soul.

The immoral soul is like the wife of the devil and follows his will in everything. She conceives a child by the devil by taking pleasure in sin and rejoicing in it. Just as a mother conceives and bears fruit through a little seed that is nothing but rot, so too, by delighting in sin, the soul bears much fruit for the devil. Thereafter the strength and limbs of the body get formed as sin gets added to sin and increases daily. The mother swells up through the increase of sin. She wants to give birth, but she cannot, for her nature is consumed with sin, and life becomes wearisome. She would prefer to go on sinning, but she cannot, and God does not allow it.

Fear is then present because she cannot carry out her will. Strength and joy are gone. Worry and sorrow are everywhere. Then her womb ruptures as she despairs of being able to do good. And she dies while blaspheming and blaming God's justice. And so she is led by the father, the devil, down to the tomb of hell where she is buried forever with the rot of her sin and the child of her depraved pleasure. So you see, from small beginnings sin increases and grows unto damnation.”

The Creator's words to the bride about how he is now despised and reviled by people who pay no heed to what he did for love by admonishing them through the prophets and by his own suffering for their sake, and about how they do not care about the anger he directed against the obstinate by correcting them severely.

Book 1 - Chapter 44

“I am the Creator and Lord of all things. I made the world and the world shuns me. I hear a sound in the world like that of a bumblebee gathering honey on the earth. When a bumblebee is flying and begins to land, it emits a buzzing sound. I hear a voice like that now buzzing in the world and saying: 'I do not care what comes after this.' Nowadays everyone is shouting: 'I do not care!' Indeed, humanity does not pay heed to or care about what I did for love by admonishing them through the prophets, by my own preaching and by my suffering for them. They do not care about what I did in my anger by correcting the wicked and disobedient. They see that they are mortal and that they are uncertain about death, but they do not care.

They hear and see the justice I inflicted on Pharaoh and on Sodom because of sin, and that I inflict on other kings and princes, letting it come about daily through the sword and other woes. But it is as if they were blind to it all. Like bumblebees, they fly wherever they like. Indeed, sometimes they fly as if they were shooting upward, whenever they exalt themselves through pride, but they come back down quickly enough by reverting to their lustfulness and gluttony. They gather earthly honey for themselves by toiling and gathering for the needs of the body rather than for those of the soul, for earthly rather than eternal honor. They turn what is temporal into a punishment for themselves, what is useless into eternal torment. Hence, because of the prayers of my Mother, I will send my clear voice to these bumblebees, excepting my friends who are in the world only in body, and it will preach mercy. If they listen to it, they will be saved.”

The answer of the Mother and the angels, the prophets, the apostles, and the devils to God, in the presence of the bride, testifying to his greatness in creation, incarnation, redemption, and so forth, and about how people now contradict all these things, and about his severe judgment on them.

Book 1 - Chapter 45

The Mother said: ”Bride of my Son, get dressed and stand firm, for my Son is drawing near to you. His flesh was pressed as in a winepress. Since humanity sinned in every limb, my Son made expiation in each of his limbs. My Son's hair was pulled out, his sinews distended, his joints were dislocated from their sockets, his bones mangled, his hands and feet pierced through. His mind was agitated, his heart afflicted by sorrow, his stomach was sucked in toward his back, all this because humanity had sinned in every limb.” Then the Son spoke, as the heavenly host stood by, and he said: ”Although you know all things in me, nevertheless I speak because of this my bride who is standing here. Angels, I ask you: Tell me what it is that was without beginning and will be without end?

And what is it that created all things and was created by none? State and give your testimony!” As with a single voice the angels answered, saying: ”Lord, it is you. We state our testimony about three things: First, that you are the Creator of us and of all things in heaven and on earth. Second, that you are and will be without beginning, your dominion without end, your power eternal. Without you nothing has been made and without you nothing can come to be. Third, we testify that we see all justice in you as well as all things that have been and will be. All things are present to you without beginning or end.” Then he said to the prophets and patriarchs: ”I ask you: Who led you up from slavery into freedom? Who divided the waters before you? Who gave you the Law? Prophets, who gave you the inspiration to speak?” They answered him: ”You, Lord. You led us up from slavery. You gave us the Law. You moved our spirit to speak.”

Then he said to his Mother: ”Give true testimony as to what you know of me!” She answered: ”Before the angel whom you sent came to me, I was alone in body and soul. When the angel's word had been spoken, your body was within me in its divine and human natures and I felt your body in my body. I bore you without pain. I delivered you without anguish. I wrapped you in swaddling clothes and I fed you with my milk. I was with you from birth until death.” Then the Lord said to the apostles: ”Say who it was that you saw, heard, and perceived by your senses?” They answered him: ”We heard your words and wrote them down. We heard your wondrous words when you gave us the New Law, when at a word you commanded demons and they went out, when at a word you raised the dead and healed the sick.

We saw you in a human body. We saw your miracles in the divine glory of your human nature. We saw you handed over to your enemies and hung upon a cross. We saw you suffer most bitterly and then be buried in a tomb. We perceived you by our senses when you rose again. We touched your hair and your face. We touched your limbs and the place of your wounds. You ate with us and shared your conversation with us. You are truly the Son of God and the Son of the Virgin. We also perceived with our senses when you ascended in your human nature to the right hand of the Father where you are without end.”

Then God said to the unclean spirits: ”Although you hide the truth in your conscience, nevertheless I command you to say who it was that diminished your power.” They answered him: ”Like thieves who do not tell the truth unless their feet are locked in hard wood, we do not speak the truth unless forced by your divine and awesome power. You are the one who descended into hell in your might. You diminished our power in the world. You took from hell what was yours by right.” Then the Lord said: ”Behold, all those who have a spirit and are not robed in a body state their testimony to the truth for me. But those who have a spirit and a body, namely human beings, contradict me. Some of them know the truth but do not care.

Others do not know it and that is why they do not care but say it is all untrue.” He said to the angels: ”They say your testimony is false, that I am not the Creator and that all things are not known in me. Therefore, they love created things more than me.” He said to the prophets: ”They contradict you and say that the Law is meaningless, that you gained freedom through your own courage and skill, that the spirit was false and that you spoke of your own volition.” He said to his Mother: ”Some say you were not a virgin, others that I did not take a body from you, others know the truth but do not care.”

He said to the apostles: ”They contradict you, for they say you are liars, that the New Law is useless and irrational. There are others who believe it to be true but do not care. Now then, I ask you: Who will be their judge?” They all answered him: ”You, God, who are with out beginning and without end. You, Jesus Christ, who are one with the Father. Judgment has been given to you by the Father, you are their judge.” The Lord answered: ”I was their accuser and am now their judge. However, although I know and can do all things, nevertheless give me your judgment upon them!”

They answered him: ”Just as the entire world perished at the beginning of the world by the waters of the flood, so too now the world deserves to perish by fire, since iniquity and injustice are more abundant now than then.” The Lord answered: ”Since I am just and merciful and render no judgment without mercy nor mercy without justice, once more I will send my mercy to the world due to the prayers of my Mother and my saints. If they do not want to listen, there will follow a justice that is only so much the more severe.”

Mutual words of praise of the Mother and Son in the bride's presence, and about how people now regard Christ as ignoble, disgraceful, and base, and say him to be so, and about the eternal damnation of such people.

Book 1 - Chapter 46

Mary spoke to her Son, saying: ”May you be blessed, who are without beginning and without end! You had a most noble and handsome body. You were the most valiant and virtuous of men. You were the most worthy of creatures.” The Son answered: ”The words of your mouth are sweet to me and delight my inmost heart like the sweetest of drinks. For me you are the creature sweetest beyond all others. In the same way as a person may see different faces in a mirror but none pleases him like his own, so too, although I love my saints, I love you with outstanding affection, because I was born from your very flesh. You are like incense whose fragrance wafted up to God and drew him to your body.

This same fragrance brought your body and soul up to God, where you live now in body and soul. May you be blessed, for the angels rejoice in your beauty and everyone who invokes you with a sincere heart is set free through your power. All the demons tremble in your light and dare not remain in your splendor, for they always want to be in darkness. You praised me for three things. You said I had a most noble body, then that I was the most valiant of men, and, third, you said I was the most worthy of creatures. These things are at present contradicted only by those who have a body and soul. They say that I have an ignoble body and am a most despicable man and the basest of creatures. What is more ignoble than to induce others to sin? This is what they say about my body: that it leads to sin. They say, namely, that sin is not as repugnant or displeases God as much as is said.

'For,' they say, 'nothing exists unless God wants it to and nothing has been created without him. Why, then, should we not get to use created things as we want? Our natural fragility demands it and this is the way everyone has lived before us and still do live.' This is how people now speak to me. My human nature, in which I appeared among men as true God, is in effect regarded by them as ignoble inasmuch as I discouraged mankind from sinning and showed what a serious matter it is, as if I had encouraged them to do something useless and disgraceful. They say, namely, that nothing is noble but sin and whatever pleases their will. They also say that I am the most disgraceful of men. What is more disgraceful than someone who, when he speaks the truth, gets his mouth bruised by stones thrown at him and gets hit in the face and, on top of that, hears people reproaching him and saying: 'If he were a man, he would revenge himself.' This is what they do to me.

I speak to them through the learned doctors and Holy Scripture, but they say that I lie. They bruise my mouth with stones and with their fists by committing adultery, by killing and lying. They say: 'If he were manly, if he were God most powerful, he would revenge himself for such transgressions.' However, I suffer it in my patience, and everyday I hear them claiming that the punishment is neither eternal nor so severe as is said, and my words are judged to be lies. Third, they regard me as the basest of creatures. What is more despicable in the house than a dog or a mouser that someone would be only too happy to exchange for a horse, if he could? But people hold that I am worse than a dog. They would not take me if that meant giving up the dog, and they would rather reject and deny me than go without the dog's hide. Is there anything so trifling to the mind that it is not thought of more fervently and desired more than me? If they held me in higher esteem than other creatures, they would love me more than others.

But they own nothing so trifling that they do not love it more than me. They grieve over everything more than me. They grieve for their own losses and those of their friends. They grieve for a single word of injury. They grieve about giving offense to people more highly placed than they, but they do not grieve about giving offense to me, the Creator of all things. What person is there who is so despicable that he is not listened to if he asks a question or is not repaid if he has given something? I am utterly base and despicable in their eyes, in that they do not regard me as being worthy of any good, although it was I who gave them all good things. My Mother, you have tasted more of my wisdom than others, and nothing but the truth has ever left your lips.

Nor does anything but the truth ever leave my own lips. In the presence of all the saints I will exculpate myself before the first man, the one who said I had an ignoble body. I shall prove that I have in fact a most noble body without deformity or sin, and that man will fall into eternal reproach for all to see. To the one who said that my words were a lie and that he did not know whether I was God or not, I shall prove myself truly to be God, and he will flow like mud down to hell. And the third, the one who held me to be base, him I shall sentence to eternal damnation so that he may never see my glory and my joy.”

Then he said to the bride: ”Stand firm in my service! You have come to be enclosed by a wall, as it were, from which you cannot flee nor dig through its foundations. Put up with this small tribulation voluntarily, and you will come to experience eternal rest in my arms! You know the will of the Father, you hear the words of the Son, and you know my Spirit. You get delight and consolation in conversation with my Mother and my saints. Therefore, stand firm! Otherwise you will come to know that justice of mine by which you will be compelled to do what I am now gently urging you to do.”

The Lord's words to the bride about the addition of the New Law, and about how that same Law is now rejected and scorned by the world, and about how bad priests are not priests of God but betrayers of God, and about their malediction and damnation.

Book 1 - Chapter 47

“I am the God who was once called the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. I am the God who gave the Law to Moses. This law was like clothing. As a pregnant mother prepares her infant's clothing, so too God prepared the Law which was just the clothing and shadow and sign of things to come. I vested and wrapped myself in the clothing of the Law. As a boy grows up, his old clothes get exchanged for new ones.

Likewise, when the clothing of the Old Law was ready to be put aside, I put on the new clothing, that is, the New Law, and gave it to everyone who wanted to have me and my clothing. This clothing is neither too tight fitting nor difficult to wear but is well adjusted on all sides. It does not command people to fast or work too much nor to kill themselves or to do anything beyond the limits of possibility, but is beneficial for the soul and conducive to the moderation and chastisement of the body. For when the body gets too attached to sin, sin consumes the body.

Two things can be found in the New Law. First, a prudent temperance and the correct use of all spiritual and physical goods. Second, an easy facility for keeping the Law, in that a person who cannot stay in one state can stay in another. Here one finds that a person who cannot live in celibacy can live in honorable matrimony, and he who falls into sin can get up again. However, this Law is now rejected and scorned by the world. People say the Law is too tight, heavy, and unattractive. They call it tight, because the Law commands one to be contented with what is necessary and to flee what is superfluous. But they want to have everything beyond reason and more than the body can bear, just like cattle.

That is why it seems too tight or strict to them. Second, they say it is heavy, because the Law says one should indulge the desire for pleasure with reason and at established times. But they want to indulge their pleasure more than is good and beyond what is established. Third, they say it is unattractive, because the Law orders them to love humility and to refer every good to God. They want to be proud and to exalt themselves for the good gifts God has given them. That is why it is unattractive to them.

See how they despise the clothes I gave them! I brought the old ways to an end and introduced the new to last until I come in judgment, because the old ways were too difficult. But they have shamefully discarded the clothing with which I covered the soul, that is, an orthodox faith. On top of that, they add sin to sin, for they also want to betray me. Does not David say in the psalm: 'He who ate of my bread plotted treason against me'? I want you to note two things in these words.

First, he does not say ”plots” but ”plotted,” as though it were already past. Second, he points to only one man as a betrayer. However, I say that it is those in the present who betray me - not those who have been or who will be, but those who are still alive. I say as well that it is a question of not only one person but of many people. But you may ask me: 'Are there not two kinds of bread, the one invisible and spiritual, on which angels and saints live, the other belonging to the earth, by which men are fed? But angels and saints do not desire anything unless it is according to your will, and men can do nothing unless you accept it. How, then, can they betray you?'

In the presence of my heavenly host who knows and sees all things in me, I answer for your sake so that you may understand: There are indeed two kinds of bread. One is that of the angels who eat my bread in my kingdom and are filled with my indescribable glory. They do not betray me, because they want nothing but what I want. But those who eat my bread on the altar betray me. I truly am that bread. Three things can be perceived in that bread: form, flavor, and roundness. I am indeed the bread, and, like the bread, I have three things in me: flavor, form and roundness. Flavor, because everything whatsoever is tasteless and insubstantial and meaningless without me, just like a meal without bread is tasteless and unnourishing.

I have also the form of bread, in that I am of the earth. I am of the Virgin Mother, my Mother is of Adam, Adam is of the earth. I have also roundness in which there is no end or beginning, because I am without beginning and without end. No one can imagine or find an end or beginning to my wisdom, power, or charity. I am in all things and above all things and beyond all things. Even if one were to fly like an arrow perpetually without stop, he would never find an end or a limit to my power and might. Through these things then, flavor, form, and roundness, I am that bread that seems to be and feels like bread on the altar but is transformed into my body that was crucified. As anything dry and easily inflammable is quickly consumed if it is placed on the fire, and nothing remains of the form of the wood but all of it becomes fire, so too, when these words are said,

'This is my body,' what before was bread immediately becomes my body. It is set a flame not by fire like wood but by my divinity. Therefore, those who eat my bread betray me. What kind of murder could be more abhorrent than when someone kills himself? Or what betrayal could be worse than when two persons are joined by an indissoluble bond, such as a married couple, and one betrays the other? What does one of the spouses do in order to betray the other? He says to her by way of deception: 'Let us go to such and such a place so I can have my way with you!' She goes with him then in all simplicity, ready for her spouse's every wish.

But when he finds the right opportunity and place, he brings against her three treacherous weapons. Either he uses something heavy enough to kill her with one blow, or sharp enough to slice right through her vital organs, or else something to smother and suffocate the spirit of life in her directly. Then, when she has died, the traitor thinks to himself: 'Now I have done wrong. If my crime comes out in the open and becomes public, I will be condemned to death.' Then he goes and puts his wife's body in some hidden place, so his sin will not be discovered.

This is the way I am dealt with by the priests who are my betrayers. For they and I are bound by a single bond when they take the bread and, by pronouncing the words, change it into my true body, which I received from the Virgin. None of the angels can do this. I have given that dignity to priests alone and have selected them for the highest orders. But they deal with me like betrayers. They put on a happy and pleasant face for me and lead me to a hidden place where they can betray me. These priests put on a happy face by appearing to be good and simple. They lead me to a hidden chamber by approaching the altar. There I am ready like a bride or bridegroom to carry out all their wishes, and instead they betray me.

First they hit me with something heavy, whenever the divine office, which they recite for me, becomes burdensome and heavy to them. They would rather speak a hundred words for the sake of the world than a single one in my honor. They would rather give a hundred pieces of gold for the sake of the world than a single penny for me. They would rather work a hundred times for the sake of their own profit and that of the world than once in my honor. They press down on me with this heavy burden, so that it is as though I am dead in their hearts. Second, they pierce me as with a sharp blade that penetrates the vital organs each time the priest goes up to the altar in the knowledge that he has sinned and repented but is firmly resolved to sin again, once he has carried out his office. He thinks to himself: 'I do indeed repent of my sin, but I will not give up the woman with whom I have sinned so as not to be able to sin any longer.' These pierce me as with the sharpest of blades.

Third, it is as though they smother the spirit when they think to themselves thus: 'It is good and delightful to be in the world, it is good to indulge lusts and I cannot contain myself. I will do what I like in my youth. When I grow old, I will abstain and mend my ways.' And through this wicked thought they smother the spirit of life. But how does this happen? Well, the heart in them grows so cold and tepid toward me and toward every virtue that it can never be warmed up or rise again to my love. Just like ice does not catch fire, even if it is held to the flame, but only melts, so too, even if I give them my grace and they hear words of admonishment, they do not rise up to the way of life, but only grow barren and slack in respect to every virtue. And so they betray me in that they pretend to be simple without being so, and are depressed and upset about giving me glory, instead of enjoying it, and also in that they intend to sin and go on sinning until the end.

They also conceal me, so to speak, and put me in a hidden place, whenever they think to themselves thus: 'I know I have sinned. But if I refrain from the sacrifice, I will be put to shame and everyone's going to condemn me.' So they impudently go up to the altar and place me before them and handle me, true God and man. I am as it were in a hidden place with them, since no one knows or realizes how corrupt and shameless they are. I, God, lie there in front of them as it were in concealment, since, even if the priest is the worst of sinners and pronounces the words ”This is my body,” he still consecrates my true body, and I, true God and man, lie there before him. When he puts me to his mouth, however, I am no longer present to him in the grace of my divine and human natures - only the form and flavor of bread remain for him - not because I am not really and truly present for the wicked as much as for the good due to the institution of the sacrament, but because good and wicked do not receive it with similar effect.

Look, these priests are not my priests but really my betrayers! They also sell and betray me like Judas. I look at the pagans and the Jews, but I do not see anyone worse than these priests, since they have fallen into the sin of Lucifer. Now let me tell you their sentence and whom they resemble. Their sentence is condemnation. David condemned those who were disobedient to God, not out of anger or bad will or impatience, but out of divine justice, because he was a righteous prophet and king. I, too, who am greater than David, condemn these priests, not out of anger or bad will but out of justice.

Accursed be everything they take from the earth for their own profit, for they do not praise their God and Creator who gave them these things. Accursed be the food and drink that enters their mouths and fattens their bodies to become food for worms and destines their souls for hell.

Accursed be their bodies that will rise again in hell to be burned without end. Accursed be the years of their useless lives.

Accursed be their first hour in hell that never will end. Accursed be their eyes that saw the light of heaven.

Accursed be their ears that heard my words and remained indifferent. Accursed be their sense of taste by which they tasted my gifts.

Accursed be their sense of touch by which they handled me. Accursed be their sense of smell by which they smelled delightful things and neglected me, the most delightful of all.

Now, how exactly are they accursed? Well, their vision is accursed because they will not see the vision of God in himself but only the shadows and punishments of hell. Their ears are accursed, because they will not hear my words but only the clamor and horrors of hell. Their sense of taste is accursed, because they will not taste my eternal goods and joy but only eternal bitterness. Their sense of touch is accursed, because they will not get to touch me but only perpetual fire.

Their sense of smell is accursed, because they will not smell that sweet smell of my kingdom that surpasses every scent, but will only have the stench of hell that is more bitter than bile and worse than sulphur. May they be accursed by earth and sky and every brute creature. These obey and glorify God, whereas they have shunned him. Therefore, I swear by the truth, I who am the Truth that if they die like this with such a disposition, neither my love nor my virtue will ever encompass them. Instead, they will be forever damned.”

About how, in the presence of the heavenly host and of the bride, the divine nature speaks to the human nature against the Christians, just as God spoke to Moses against the people, and about damnable priests who love the world and despise Christ and about their condemnation and damnation.

Book 1 - Chapter 48

The great host was seen in heaven and God said to it: ”Behold, for the sake of this bride of mine present here, I am speaking to you, my friends, who are here listening, you who know, understand, and see all things in me. In the manner of someone speaking to himself, my divine nature will speak to my human nature. Moses was with the Lord on the mountain forty days and nights. When the people saw that he was gone a long time, they took gold and cast it in the fire and fashioned a calf out of it, calling it their god. Then God said to Moses: 'The people have sinned. I will wipe them out, just like writing is erased from a book.' Moses answered: 'Do not, my Lord! Remember how you led them up from the Red Sea and worked wonders for them. If you wipe them out, where is your promise then? Do not do this, I beg you, since then your enemies will say: The God of Israel is evil, he led the people up from the sea and killed them in the desert.' And God was appeased by these words.

I am Moses, figuratively speaking. My divine nature speaks to my human one just as it did to Moses, saying: 'Look what your people have done, look how they have despised me! All the Christians will be killed and their faith wiped out.' My human nature answers: 'Do not, Lord. Remember how I led the people through the sea by my blood when I was bruised from the sole of my foot to the crown of my head! I promised them eternal life. Have mercy on them for the sake of my passion!' When the divine nature heard this, it appeased him, and he said: 'Thy will be done, for all judgment has been given thee!' See what love, my friends!

But now in your presence, my spiritual friends, my angels and saints, and in the presence of my corporeal friends who are in the world yet not in the world except in body, I complain that my people are gathering firewood and kindling a fire and throwing gold into it from which a calf emerges for them to adore as a god. Like a calf it stands on four feet and has a head, a throat, and a tail. When Moses lingered on the mountain, the people said: 'We do not know what may have become of him.' And they were sorry that he had led them out of captivity, and they said: 'Let us look for another god to go before us!'

This is how these damnable priests are treating me now. They say: 'Why are we living a more austere life than others? What is our reward? We would be better off taking it easy and living in lust. Let us, then, love the world we are certain about! After all, we are uncertain about his promise.' So they gather firewood, I mean, they apply all their senses to loving the world. They light a fire when their entire desire is for the world. They burn as their lust grows hot in their mind and results in an act. Later they throw in gold, which means that all the love and respect they should show to me, they show to get the world's respect.

Then the calf emerges, I mean, the complete love of the world, with its four feet of sloth, impatience, superfluous mirth, and greediness. These priests who should be mine are slothful in honoring me, impatient in suffering, excessive in mirth, and never content with what they get. This calf also has a head and throat, I mean, a total desire for gluttony that can never be quenched, not even were the whole sea to flow into it. The calf's tail is their malice, for they do not let anyone keep his property, not if they can help it.

By their immoral example and their scorn, they hurt and pervert everyone who serves me. Such is the love for the calf that is in their hearts, and in such they rejoice and delight. They think about me in the same way as those others did about Moses: 'He is gone a long time,' they say. 'His words appear meaningless and working for him is a burden. Let us have our will, let our strength and pleasure be our god!' They are not even content to stop at this and forget me entirely, but, instead, they treat me like an idol. The gentiles used to worship wood and stones and dead people. Among others, an idol by the name of Beelzebub was worshipped. His priests used to offer him incense and genuflections and shouts of praise.

Anything in their sacrificial offering that was useless was dropped on the ground, and the birds and flies ate it. But the priests used to keep whatever was useable for themselves. Then they locked the door on their idol and personally kept the key, so that nobody could get in. This is how priests are treating me in the present time. They offer me incense, I mean, they speak and preach pretty words to the people to gain respect for themselves and temporal profit, but not out of love of me. And just as you cannot lay hold of the aroma of incense, but you can feel it and see it, in the same way their words do not attain any effect on souls so as to take root and be kept in their hearts, but their words are just heard and only seem to please for a while.

They offer up prayers, but not at all to my liking. Like people with shouts of praise on their lips but silence in their hearts, they stand next to me, as it were, with prayers on their lips while in their hearts they wander around the world. However, if they were speaking with a person of rank, they would keep their minds on what they say, so as not to make any mistakes that could be remarked upon by others. In my presence, however, the priests are like men in a daze who say one thing with their lips and have another in their hearts. The person hearing their words cannot be certain about them. They bend their knees to me, that is, they promise me humility and obedience. But, really, they are about as humble as Lucifer. They obey their own desires, not me.

They also lock me in and personally keep the key. They open up on me and offer praise when they say: 'Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven!' But then they lock me in by carrying out their own will, while mine becomes like that of an imprisoned and powerless man because it can neither be seen nor heard. They personally keep the key in the sense that by their example they also lead astray others who want to do my will. And, if they could, they would even like to prevent my will from getting out and being accomplished, except when it accords with their own will. They keep for themselves anything in the sacrificial offering that is necessary and useful to them, and they demand all their rights and privileges. However, they seem to regard as useless people's bodies that fall to the ground and die and for which they are obliged to offer the most important sacrifice, but leave them for the flies, I mean, the worms.

They do not care or bother about those people's rights or about the salvation of souls. What was it that was said to Moses? 'Kill those who made this idol!' Some were killed but not all. Thus, my words will now come and slay them, some in body and soul by means of eternal damnation, others unto life so that they be converted and live, still others through a swift death as being priests who are altogether odious to me. What shall I liken them to? They are in fact like the fruit of the briar, which is beautiful and red on the outside, but inside is full of impurity and prickles. Likewise, these men come to me as though red with charity, and they seem to be pure to the people, but inside they are all full of filth. If this fruit is placed in the soil, other briar-bushes spring up from it.

Likewise, these men hide their sin and malice in their heart as in the soil, and they become so rooted in evil that they do not even blush to go out in public and boast about their sin. Hence other people not only find it an occasion of sin but also get seriously wounded in their souls, thinking thus to themselves: 'If priests do this, it is all the more licit for us.' As it is, they resemble not only the fruit, but also the prickles in the sense that they disdain to be moved by correction and admonition; they think no one is wiser than they themselves and that they can do as they please. Therefore I swear by my divine and human natures, in the hearing of all the angels, that I shall break through the door they have shut on my will. My will shall be fulfilled and their will shall be annihilated and locked in endless punishment. Wherefore, as it was said of old, I shall begin my judgment with my clergy and from my altar.”

Christ's words to the bride about how Christ is figuratively likened to Moses leading the people out of Egypt, and about how the damnable priests, whom he has chosen in place of the prophets as his closest friends, now cry: ”Depart from us!”

Book 1 - Chapter 49

The Son spoke: ”Earlier I likened myself figuratively to Moses. When he was leading the people, the water stood like a wall to right and left. I am indeed Moses, figuratively speaking. I led the Christian people, that is, I opened heaven for them and showed them the way. But now I have chosen other friends for myself, more special and intimate than the prophets, namely, my priests, who not only hear and see my words, when they see me myself, but even touch me with their hands, which none of the prophets or angels could do.

These priests, whom I have chosen as friends in place of the prophets, cry out to me, not with desire and love as the prophets did, but they cry out with two opposing voices. For they do not cry out as did the prophets: 'Come, Lord, for you are good!' Instead they cry out: 'Depart from us, for your words are bitter and your works heavy and they are a scandal to us!' Just listen to what these damnable priests say! I stand before them like the meekest of sheep, and they get wool from me for their clothing and milk for their refreshment, and yet they loathe me for loving them so.

I stand before them like a visitor saying: 'Friend, supply the basic needs that I lack, and you will receive the greatest reward from God!' But in return for my sheeplike simplicity they drive me away as if I were a wolf lying in wait for the master's sheep. Instead of hospitality they affront me like a traitor unworthy of hospitality and refuse to take me in. But what will the rejected visitor do? Should he bring out arms against the householder who drives him away? By no means. That would not be just, since the owner can give or deny his property to whomever he wants.

What, then, will the visitor do? He should certainly say to the one rejecting him: 'Friend, since you do not want to take me in, I will go to another who will take pity on me.' And, going to another person, he hears from him: 'You are welcome, sir, all that I have is yours. May you be the lord now! I will be your servant and guest.' Those are the kind of lodgings I like to stay in, where I hear such a voice. I am like the visitor rejected by men. Although I can enter any place whatsoever by virtue of my power, still, under the dictates of justice, I only enter where people receive me with a good will as their true Lord, not as a guest, and surrender their own will into my hands.”

The mutual words of blessing and praise of the Mother and the Son, and about the grace conceded by the Son to his Mother for the souls in purgatory and those remaining in this world.

Book 1 - Chapter 50

Mary spoke to her Son saying: ”Blessed be your name, my Son, without end and blessed be your divine nature that is with out beginning and without end! In your divine nature there are three marvelous attributes of power, wisdom, and virtue. Your power is like the hottest fire in the face of which anything solid and strong is to be reckoned as dry straw in a fire. Your wisdom is like the sea that can never be emptied by reason of its vastness and which covers valleys and mountains when it rises up and flows over. It is equally impossible to comprehend and fathom your wisdom. How wisely you created humankind and established them over all your creation!

How wisely you arranged the birds in the air, the beasts on the earth, the fishes in the sea, giving to each its own time and order! How wondrously you give life to all things and take it away! How wisely you give wisdom to the foolish and take it away from the proud! Your virtue is like the sunlight that shines in the sky and fills the earth with its light. Your virtue likewise satisfies high and low and fills all things. So, may you be blessed, my Son, who are my God and my Lord!” The Son answered:

”My dear Mother, your words are sweet to me, for they come from your soul. You are like the dawn that advances with serene weather. You outshine the heavens; your light and your serenity surpass all the angels. By your serenity you attracted to yourself the true sun, that is, my divine nature, so much so that the sun of my divinity came to you and settled on you. By its warmth you were warmed in my love beyond all others and by its splendor you were enlightened in my wisdom more than all others. The darkness of the earth was driven away and all the heavens were lit up through you. Upon my truth I say that your purity, more pleasing to me than all the angels, drew my divinity to you so that you were set on fire by the warmth of the Spirit.

In it you bore the true God and man hidden in your womb whereby mankind has been enlightened and the angels filled with joy. So, may you be blessed by your blessed Son! And therefore, no petition of yours will ever come to me with out being heard. Any who ask for mercy through you and have the intention of mending their ways will win grace. As heat comes from the sun, so too all mercy will be given through you. You are like a free-flowing spring from which mercy flows to the wretched.” In turn the Mother answered the Son: ”All power and glory be yours, my Son! You are my God and mercy. Every good that I have comes from you. You are like a seed never sown that still grew and yielded fruit a hundredfold and a thousandfold. All mercy comes from you and, being countless and ineffable, it can indeed be symbolized by the number one hundred, which symbolizes perfection, for everyone is perfected by you and perfection comes from you.”

The Son answered the Mother: ”Mother, you compared me quite rightly to a seed that was never sown but still grew, since in my divine nature I came to you, and my human nature was not sown by intercourse but still grew in you, and mercy flowed out from you to all people. You have spoken rightly. Now, then, since you draw mercy out of me by the sweet words of your lips, ask me what you will, and it shall be given to you.” The Mother answered: ”My Son, since I have won mercy from you, then I ask you to have mercy on the wretched and help them. After all, there are four places.

The first is heaven, where the angels and the souls of the saints need nothing but you whom they have, for they possess every good in you. The second place is hell, and those who live there are filled with evil and are excluded from every mercy. Thus, nothing good can enter into them any more. The third is the place of those being purged. These need a triple mercy, since they are triply afflicted. They suffer in their hearing, for they hear nothing other than sorrow, pain, and misery. They are afflicted in their sight, for they see nothing but their own misery. They are afflicted in their touch, for they feel only the heat of unbearable fire and of grievous suffering. Grant them your mercy, my Lord and my Son, for the sake of my prayers!” The Son answered:

”I will gladly grant them a triple mercy for your sake. First, their hearing will get relief, their sight will be eased, their punishment will be reduced and mitigated. Moreover, from this hour those who find themselves in the greatest punishment of purgatory shall advance to the middle stage. And those who are in the middle stage shall advance to the lightest punishment. Those who find themselves in the lightest punishment shall cross over into rest.” The Mother answered: ”Praise and honor to you, my Lord!”

And she immediately added: ”The fourth place is the world. Its inhabitants need three things: first, contrition for their sins; second, reparation; third, the power to do good.” The Son answered: ”To everyone who invokes my name and has hope in you along with the purpose of amendment for his sins, these three things shall be given as well as the kingdom of heaven. Your words are so sweet to me that I cannot refuse the things you ask, since you want nothing other than what I want. You are like a shining, burning flame by which extinguished torches are re-enkindled, and once enkindled grow in strength. By means of your love, which rose up to my heart and drew me to you, those who are dead through sin will revive and those who are tepid and dark like smoke will grow strong in my love.”

The Mother's words of blessing to the Son, in the bride's hearing, and about how the Son of glory makes a lovely comparison of his sweet Mother to a flower growing in a valley.

Book 1 - Chapter 51

The Mother spoke to her Son saying: ”Blessed be your name, my Son Jesus Christ! Praise to your human nature surpassing all creation! Glory to your divine nature above all good things! Your divine and human natures are one God.” The Son answered: ”My Mother, you are like a flower that grew in a valley. Around the valley were five high mountains. The flower itself grew out of three roots, having a straight stem without any knots. This flower had five leaves, lovely in every way. The valley and its flower outgrew the five mountains, and the leaves of the flower spread themselves out over every height in the sky and over all the choirs of angels. You, my beloved Mother, you are that valley by virtue of the great humility you had in comparison with others.

It surpassed the five mountains. The first mountain was Moses by virtue of his power. For he held power over my people through the Law, as though it were held tight in his fist. But you held the Lord of all law in your womb and, therefore, you are higher than that mountain. The second mountain was Elijah, who was so holy that he was assumed body and soul into the holy place. You, however, my dear Mother, were assumed in soul to the throne of God above all the choirs of angels, and your most pure body is there together with your soul. You are therefore higher than Elijah. The third mountain was the great strength possessed by Samson in comparison with other men. Yet the devil defeated him by cheating. But you defeated the devil by your strength. You are therefore stronger than Samson. The fourth mountain was David, a man according to my heart and will, who nevertheless fell into sin.

But you, my Mother, followed my every will and never sinned. The fifth mountain was Solomon, who was full of wisdom but who nevertheless became a fool. You, indeed, my Mother, were full of all wisdom but never became foolish or were deceived. You are therefore higher than Solomon. The flower sprang from three roots in the sense that you possessed three things from your youth on: obedience, charity, and divine understanding. From these three roots grew the straightest of stems with not a single knot, I mean, your will was never inclined to anything but to my wish. The flower also had five leaves growing higher than all the choirs of angels. You, my Mother, are indeed the flower of these five leaves.

The first leaf is your nobleness, which is so great that my angels, who are noble in my presence, beholding your nobleness, saw it to be above them and more exalted than their sanctity and nobleness. You are therefore higher than the angels. The second leaf is your mercy, which was so great that, when you saw the misery of souls, you had compassion on them and suffered pain at my death. The angels are full of mercy, yet they never suffer pain. You, however, loving Mother, were merciful to the miserable by experiencing all the pain of my death and, for the sake of mercy, preferring to suffer pain than to be free from it. Thus, your mercy surpassed the mercy of all the angels. The third leaf is your gentle kindness. The angels are kind and gentle, wishing everyone well, but you, my dearest Mother, had a will like an angel's in your soul and body before your death and did good to everyone. And now you refuse no one who rationally prays for his own best. Thus, your kindness is more excellent than the angels.

The fourth leaf is your beauty. Each of the angels beholds the beauty of the others and they admire the beauty of all souls and of all bodies. However, they see that the beauty of your soul is above the rest of creation and that the nobleness of your body excels that of all human beings who have been created. Thus your beauty surpassed all the angels and all creation. The fifth flower was your divine joy, for nothing delighted you but God, just as nothing else delights the angels but God. Each of them knows and knew his own joy within himself but when they saw your joy in God within yourself, it seemed to each of them in his conscience that their joy blazed up in them like a light in God's love.

They perceived your joy to be like a great bonfire, burning with the hottest of fires, with flames so tall it came close to my divinity. Therefore, most sweet Mother, your divine joy burned far above all the choirs of angels. This flower, having these five leaves of nobleness and mercy, kindness, beauty and the greatest joy, was lovely in every way. Whoever wants to taste of its sweetness should come close to its sweetness and receive it into himself This is also what you did, good Mother. For you were so sweet to my Father that he received your entire self into his spirit, and your sweetness pleased him more than anyone.

Through the warmth and power of the sun, the flower also bears a seed and from it grows a fruit. Blessed be that sun, that is, my divine nature, which took a human nature from your virginal womb! Just as a seed makes the same flowers sprout wherever it is sown, so too my limbs were like yours in form and appearance, although I was a man and you a virgin woman. This valley with its flower was lifted up above all the mountains when your body together with your most holy soul was lifted up above all the choirs of angels.”

The Mother's words of blessing and her prayer to the Son that his words might be spread throughout the world and take root in the hearts of his friends, and about how the same Virgin is wonderfully compared to a flower growing in a garden. And about Christ's words conveyed through the bride to the pope and to other prelates of the church.

Book 1 - Chapter 52

The Blessed Virgin spoke to the Son, saying: ”Blessed are you, my Son and my God, Lord of angels and King of glory! I pray that the words that you have spoken may take root in the hearts of your friends and cling to their minds like the pitch with which Noah's ark was plastered, which neither the storms nor the winds could dissolve. May they spread themselves throughout the world like branches and sweet flowers whose scent is spread far and wide. May they also turn into fruit and grow sweet like the date whose sweetness delights the soul beyond measure.”

The Son answered: ”Blessed are you, my dearest Mother! My angel Gabriel said to you: 'Blessed are you, Mary, among women!' And I bear you witness that you are blessed and most holy above all the choirs of angels. You are like a garden flower that is surrounded by other fragrant flowers, but surpasses them all in fragrance, beauty, and virtue. These flowers represent all the elect from Adam to the end of the world. They were planted in the garden of the world, bloomed and blossomed in various virtues, but among all those who then were and who afterward were to be, you were the most excellent in the fragrance of a good and humble life, in the beauty of a pleasing virginity, in the virtue of abstinence.

For I bear you witness that you were greater than a martyr at my passion, greater than a confessor in your abstinence, greater than an angel in mercy and good will. For your sake I will enroot my words like the strongest pitch in the hearts of my friends. They will spread themselves like fragrant flowers and bear fruit like the sweetest and most delicious of date-palms.” Then the Lord spoke to the bride: ”Tell your friend that he should take care to set forth these words in writing to his own father, whose heart is according to my heart, and he will convey them to the archbishop and later to another bishop.

When these have been thoroughly informed, he should send them on to a third bishop. Tell him on my behalf: 'I am your Creator and the Redeemer of souls. I am God, whom you love and honor above all others. Look and consider how the souls that I redeemed with my blood are like the souls of those who do not know God, how they have been made captive by the devil in so dreadful a manner that he punishes them in every limb of their bodies as though in a firmly tightened winepress. Wherefore, if you have any taste for my wounds in your soul, if my scourging and suffering mean anything to you, then show by your deeds how much you love me!

Make the words of my mouth publicly known and bring them personally to the head of the church! I shall give you my spirit so that, wherever there be dissension between two persons, you may be able to unite them in my name and through the power given to you, if they but believe. As further evidence of my words, you shall present to the pontiff the testimonies of those people who taste and delight in my words. For my words are like lard that melts more quickly the warmer one is inside. Where there is no warmth, it is rejected and does not reach the inmost parts.

My words are like that, since the more a person eats and chews on them with fervent love for me, the more he is fed with the sweetness of heavenly desire and of inner love, and the more he burns for my love. But it is as though those who do not like my words have lard in their mouths. Once they taste it, they spit it out of their mouths and trample it underfoot. Some people despise my words in this way because they have no taste for the sweetness of spiritual things. The lord of the land, whom I have chosen as one of my members and made truly mine, will aid you manfully and supply you with the necessary provisions for your journey out of properly acquired means.' ”

The words of mutual blessing and praise of the Mother and of the Son, and about how the Virgin is likened to the ark where the staff, the manna and the tablets of the Law were kept. Many wonderful details are contained in this image.

Book 1 - Chapter 53

Mary spoke to the Son: ”Blessed are you, my Son, my God and Lord of angels! You are he whose voice the prophets heard, whose body the apostles saw, he whom the Jews and your enemies perceived. With your divinity and humanity and with the Holy Spirit you are one God. For the prophets heard the Spirit, the apostles saw the glory of your divinity, the Jews crucified your humanity. Therefore may you be blessed without beginning and without end!” The Son answered: ”Blessed are you, for you are both Virgin and Mother! You are the ark of the Old Law in which there were these three things: the staff, the manna, and the tablets.

Three things were done by the staff. First, it was changed into a serpent without venom. Second, the sea was divided by it. Third, water was brought forth from the rock. This staff is a symbol of me who lay in your belly and assumed a human nature from you. First, I am as frightening to my enemies as the serpent was to Moses. They flee from me as from the sight of a serpent; they are terrified of me and loathe me like a serpent, although I am without the venom of malice and am full of every mercy. I allow myself to be held by them, if they like. I come back to them, if they ask me. I run to them like a mother to a lost and found son, if they call upon me. I show them mercy and forgive their sins, if they cry out.

I do this for them, and yet they loathe me like a serpent. Second, the sea was divided by this staff in the sense that the way to heaven, which had been closed through sin, was opened through my blood and pain. The sea was indeed rent and that which had been impassable was made into a path, when the pain in all my limbs reached my heart and my heart was broken from the violence of the pain. Then, when the people had been led through the sea, Moses did not bring them to the promised land straightaway but to the desert, where they might be tested and instructed.

Now, too, once people have accepted the faith and my commandment, they are not brought into heaven straightaway, but it is necessary that men be tested in the desert, that is, in the world, as to how they love God. Moreover, the people provoked God by three things in the desert: first, because they made an idol for themselves and worshipped it; second, because they longed for the fleshpots they had had in Egypt; third, by pride, when they wanted to go and fight their enemies without God's approval People sin against me even now in the world in the same way. First, they worship an idol, in that they love the world and all that is in it more than me, who am Creator of it all. The world is indeed their god, not I. As I said in my gospel: 'Where a man's treasure is, there his heart is.' Thus, their treasure is the world, since they have their heart there and not in me. Therefore, just as those others perished in the desert with a sword through their bodies, so these, too, will fall with the sword of eternal damnation through their soul and in damnation they will live without end.

Second, they sinned by longing for fleshpots. I have given humankind everything needed for an honorable and moderate life, but they want to possess all things without moderation or discretion. For, if their physical constitution could take it, they would be continuously having sex, drinking with out restraint, desiring without measure; and, as long as they could sin, they would never desist from sinning. For that reason, the same thing will happen to them as happened to those others in the desert: they will die a sudden death. For, what is the time of this life when compared to eternity if not a single instant? Therefore, because of the brevity of this life, they will die a quick physical death, but they will live in spiritual pain forever.

Third, they sinned in the desert through pride, since they wished to go to battle without God's approval. People wish to go to heaven through their own pride. They trust not in me but in themselves, doing their own will and abandoning mine. Therefore, just like those others were killed by their enemies, so these, too, will be killed in their souls by demons, and their torment will be everlasting. This is how they hate me like a serpent, and worship an idol in my place, and love their own pride instead of my humility. Nevertheless, I am still so merciful that, if they turn to me with a contrite heart, I will turn to them like a devoted father and welcome them.

In the third place, the rock gave water by means of this staff. This rock is the hard human heart. When it is pierced by my fear and love, there straightaway flow tears of contrition and penance from it. No one is so unworthy, no one so bad that his face will not be flooded in tears and his every limb stirred up to devotion, if he would but turn to me, if he would reflect in his heart upon my passion, if he would pay heed to my power, if he would ponder how my goodness makes the earth and trees bear fruit. In the ark of Moses, second, lay the manna. So, too, in you, my Mother and Virgin, lay the bread of angels and of holy souls and of the righteous here on earth, whom nothing pleases but my sweetness, for whom all the world is dead, who, if it were my will, would gladly go without physical nourishment.

In the ark, thirdly, were the tablets of the Law. So, too, in you lay the Lord of all laws. Therefore, may you be blessed above all creatures in heaven and on earth!” Then he spoke to the bride, saying: ”Tell my friends three things. When I dwelled physically in the world, I tempered my words in such away that they made the good stronger and more fervent. Indeed the wicked became better, as was clearly the case with Mary Magdalene, Matthew, and many others. Again, I tempered my words in such away that my enemies were not able to lessen their force. For that reason, may they to whom my words are sent work with fervor, so that the good grow more ardent in goodness through my words, the wicked repent from wickedness, and may they prevent my enemies from obstructing my words.

I do no greater injury to the devil than to the angels in heaven. For, if I wanted to, I could very well utter my words so that the whole world could hear them. I am capable of opening up hell for all to see its punishments. However, that would not be just, since people would then serve me out of fear, when they should be serving me out of love. For only a person who loves shall enter the kingdom of heaven. Moreover, I would be doing injury to the devil, if I took his lawfully purchased thralls from him without good works. I would also do injury to the angel in heaven, if the spirit of an unclean person were put on the same level as one who is clean and fervently in love.

Accordingly, no one will enter heaven, except for those who have been tried like gold in the fire of purgatory or who have proved themselves over time in good works on earth in such away that there is no stain in them left to be purged away. If you do not know to whom my words ought to be sent, I will tell you. The one who wants to gain merit through good works in order to come to the kingdom of heaven or who already has merited it by good works in the past is worthy of receiving my words. My words are to be disclosed to such as these and to enter into them. Those who have a taste for my words and humbly await the inscription of their names in the book of life keep my words. Those who have no taste for them consider them first and then reject and vomit them out immediately.”

An angel's words to the bride about whether the spirit of her thoughts is good or bad, and about how there are two spirits, one uncreated and one created, and about their characteristics.

Book 1 - Chapter 54

An angel spoke to the bride saying: ”There are two spirits, one uncreated, one created. The uncreated has three characteristics. In the first place, he is hot, in the second, sweet, in the third, clean. First, he gives off heat not from created things but from himself, since, together with the Father and the Son, he is Creator of all things and almighty. He gives off heat whenever the whole soul burns for the love of God. Second, he is sweet, whenever nothing pleases the soul or delights it but God and the recollection of his works. Third, he is clean and in him can be found no sin, no deformity, no corruption, or mutability. He does not give off heat like material fire or like the visible sun making things melt. His heat is rather the internal love and desire of the soul that fills her and engrosses her in God. He is sweet to the soul, not in the way that choice wine or sensual pleasure or anything in the world is sweet.

Rather, the sweetness of the spirit is incomparable to every temporal sweetness and unimaginable to those who have not tasted it. Third, the Spirit is as clean as the rays of the sun in which no blemish can be found. The second, created spirit likewise has three characteristics. He is burning, bitter, and unclean. First, he burns and consumes like fire, inasmuch as he enkindles the soul he possesses with the fire of lust and depraved desire, so that the soul can neither think nor desire anything other than satisfying this desire, to such an extent that her temporal life is sometimes lost along with all honor and consolation as a result.

Second, he is as bitter as bile, inasmuch as he so inflames the soul with his lust that future joys seem like nothing to her and eternal goods but foolishness. Everything that has to do with God and which the soul is bound to do for him turns bitter and is as abominable to her as vomit and bile. Third, he is unclean, since he renders the soul so vile and prone to sin that she does not blush for any sin, and she would not desist from any sin, if she did not have fear being shamed before other people more than before God.

That is why this spirit burns like fire, because he burns for iniquity and enkindles others along with itself. That is why this spirit is bitter indeed, because every good is bitter to him and he wants to make the good bitter for others as well as for himself. That is why, again, he is unclean, because he delights in filth and seeks to make others like himself. Now you might ask me and say: 'Are you not also a created spirit such as that one? Why are you not like that?' I answer you: Of course I am created, by that same God who also created the other spirit, since there is only one God, Father and Son and Holy Spirit, and these are not three gods, but one God.

Both of us were well made and created for the good, since God has created nothing but good. But I am like a star, since I have stood fast in the goodness and love of God in which I was created. He is like coal, since he has left the love of God. So then, just as a star has brightness and splendor and coal has blackness, a good angel, who is like a star, has his splendor, that is, the Holy Spirit. For everything he has, he has from God, from the Father and Son and Holy Spirit. He grows hot in the love of God, he shines in his splendor and clings to him and conforms himself to his will without ever wanting anything but what God wants. This is why he burns, this is why he is clean.

The devil is like ugly coal and is uglier than any other creature, because, just as he was more beautiful than the others, he had to be made uglier than others, because he opposed his Creator. Just as God's angel shines with God's light and burns incessantly in his love, so the devil is ever burning in the anguish of his malice. His malice is insatiable, just as the grace and goodness of the Holy Spirit is ineffable. For there is no one in the world so rooted in the devil that the good Spirit does not at times visit and move his heart. Likewise, there is no one so good that the devil does not try to touch him with temptation. Many good and just people are tempted by the devil with God's permission. This is not because of wickedness on their part but for their greater glory.

The Son of God, one in divinity with the Father and the Holy Spirit, was tempted in the human nature he had taken. How much more are his elect put to the test for their greater reward! Again, many good people sometimes fall into sin, and their conscience is darkened through the devil's falsehood, but they get back up hardier and stand stronger than before through the power of the Holy Spirit. However, there is nobody who does not realize this in his conscience, whether the suggestion of the devil leads to the deformity of sin or to the good, if he would only think about and examine it carefully. And so, bride of my Lord, you do not have to be in doubt as to whether the spirit of your thoughts is good or bad.

For your conscience tells you which things to ignore and which to choose. What should a person who is full of the devil do, since the good spirit cannot enter him inasmuch as he is full of evil? He should do three things. He should make a plain and complete confession of sins, which, even if he cannot be heartily sorry due to his hardened heart, still it benefits him inasmuch as, due to his confession, the devil gives him some respite and gets out of the good spirit's way. Second, let him be humble and resolve to atone for the sins he has committed and do what good he can, and then the devil will begin to leave. Third, in order to get the good spirit back again, he should beseech God in humble prayer and, with true love, be sorry for the sins he has committed , inasmuch as love for God kills the devil.

The devil is so envious and malicious that he would rather die a hundred times than see someone do God the least little good out of love.” Then the Blessed Virgin spoke to the bride, saying: ”New bride of my Son, get dressed, put on your brooch, that is, my Son's passion!” She answered her: ”My Lady, put it on me yourself!” And she said: ”Of course I will. I also want you to know how my Son was disposed and why the fathers longed for him so much. He stood, as it were, in between two cities. A voice from the first city cried out to him, saying: 'You, there, standing in between the cities, you are a wise man, for you know how to beware of imminent dangers.

You are also strong enough to endure overhanging evils. You are courageous as well, since you fear nothing. We have been longing for and awaiting you. Open our gate! Enemies are blocking it so that it cannot be opened!' A voice from the second city was heard saying: 'Kind, strong man, hear our complaint and lament! We sit in darkness and suffer unbearable hunger and thirst. Look upon our misery and our miserable poverty! We are beaten down like grass cut by a scythe. We have withered away from all goodness and all our strength has left us. Come to us and save us, for you alone are the one we awaited, we hoped for you as our liberator!

Come and put an end to our poverty, turn our wailing into joy! Be you our help and our salvation! Come, most worthy and blessed body, which proceeded from the pure Virgin!' My Son heard these two voices from the two cities, that is, from heaven and hell. Therefore, in his mercy he opened the gates of hell through his bitter passion and the spilling of his blood and rescued his friends there. He opened heaven, too, and gave joy to the angels by leading into it the friends he had rescued from hell. My daughter, think on these things and keep them ever before you!”

About how Christ is likened to a powerful lord who builds a great city and a fine palace, which stand for the world and the church, and about how the judges and defenders and laborers in the church of God have been turned into a useless bow.

Book 1 - Chapter 55

“I am like a powerful lord who built a city and named it after himself. In the city he then constructed a palace in which there were various small rooms for storing necessities. After having constructed the palace and arranging all his affairs, he divided his people into three groups, saying: 'I am heading off to remote regions. Stand firm and labor bravely for my glory! I have made arrangements for your food and needs. You have judges to judge you. You have defenders to defend you from your enemies. I have also arranged for laborers to feed you. They shall pay me the tenth part of their labor, reserving it for my use and in honor of me.'

However, after some time had gone by, the name of the city was forgotten. Then the judges said: 'Our lord has traveled to remote regions. Let us judge rightly and do justice so that, when our lord returns, we will not stand accused but gain praise and blessing.' Then the defenders said: 'Our lord trusts us and has delivered the custody of his house to us. Let us therefore abstain from superfluous food and drink, so as not to be unfit for battle! Let us abstain from immoderate sleep, so as not to be trapped unawares! Let us also be well armed and constantly watchful, so as not to be caught off guard by an enemy attack!

The honor of our lord and the safety of his people depend very much on us.' Then the laborers said: 'Our lord's glory is great and his reward is glorious. Let us therefore labor mightily and let us give to him not only a tithe of our labor but let us also offer to him whatever gets left over from our living expenses! Our wages will be all the more glorious the greater the love he sees in us.' After this, again some time went by, and the lord of the city and his palace fell into oblivion. Then the judges said to themselves: 'Our lord's delay is long. We do not know whether he will return or not. Let us therefore judge as we like and do what we please!'

Next the defenders said: 'We are fools, because we labor and know not for what reward. Let us ally ourselves with our enemies instead and sleep and drink with them! For it is not our concern whose enemies they have been.' After that, the laborers said: 'Why do we save our gold for another? We do not know who will get it after us. It is better, then, that we use and dispose of it as we like. Let us give tithes to the judges, and, having placated them, we can do what we want.' Truly, I am like that powerful lord. I built myself a city, that is, the world, and placed a palace there, that is, the church. The name given to the world was divine wisdom, for the world had this name from the beginning, as it was made in divine wisdom.

This name was venerated by everyone, and God was praised for his wisdom and wonderfully proclaimed by his creatures. Now the city's name has been dishonored and changed, and human wisdom is the new name that is used. The judges, who earlier rendered just sentences in the fear of the Lord, have now turned to pride and are the downfall of simple folk. They long to be eloquent in order to win human praise; they speak pleasantly in order to obtain favors. They put up lightly with any words in order to be called good and mild; they allow themselves to be bribed to hand down unjust sentences. They are wise with respect to their own worldly good and their own desires, but they are dumb with regard to my praise. They trample simple folk underfoot and make them keep quiet. They extend their greed to everyone and make right into wrong. This is the wisdom that is loved nowadays, while mine has fallen into oblivion.

The defenders of the church, who are the noblemen and knights, see my enemies, the assailers of my church, and they dissimulate. They hear their reproaches and do not care. They know and understand the deeds of those who assail my commandments and nonetheless bear them patiently. They watch them daily perpetrating every kind of mortal sin with impunity and feel no compunction but sleep side by side with them and have dealings with them, binding themselves by oath to their company. The laborers, who represent the entire citizenry, reject my commandments and withhold my gifts and my tithes. They bribe their judges and show them reverence so as to gain their goodwill and favor. I dare say indeed that the sword of fear for me and for my church on earth has been cast aside, and that a sack of money has been accepted in exchange for it.”

Words in which God explains the immediately preceding chapter, and about the sentence handed down against such people, and about how God for a while puts up with the wicked for the sake of the good.

Book 1 - Chapter 56

“I told you before that the sword of the church had been cast aside and a sack of money was accepted in exchange. This sack is open at one end. At the other end it is so deep that whatever goes in never reaches the bottom and so the sack never gets filled. This sack represents greed. This has exceeded all bounds and measure and has grown so strong that the Lord is scorned and nothing is desired but money and selfishness. However, I am like a lord who is both father and judge. When his son comes to court, the bystanders say: 'Lord, proceed quickly and render your verdict!'

The Lord answers them: 'Wait a little until tomorrow, because maybe my son will reform himself in the meantime.' When the following day comes, the people say to him: 'Proceed and render your verdict, sir! How long are you going to drag out the sentencing and not sentence the guilty?' The lord answers: 'Wait a little longer, to see if my son reforms himself! And then, if he does not repent, I will do what is just.' In this way I patiently bear with people until the last moment, since I am both father and judge. However, because my sentence is incommutable, despite its being a long time in the making, I will either punish sinners who do not reform themselves or show them mercy if they convert.

I told you before that I divided the people into three groups: judges, defenders and laborers. What do the judges symbolize if not the priests who have turned divine wisdom into corrupt and empty wisdom? Like learned clerks who take a great many words and recompose them into a few - and those few words say the same thing as the many did - so, too, present-day clerics have taken my ten commandments and recomposed them into a single phrase. And what is this single phrase? 'Put out your hand and give us some money!' This is their wisdom: to speak handsomely and to act badly, to pretend they are mine and to act iniquitously against me.

In exchange for bribes, they cheerfully put up with sinners in their sins and cause the downfall of simple folk through their example. In addition, they hate those people who follow my ways. Second, the defenders of the church, the knights, are disloyal. They have broken their promise and their oath and willingly tolerate those who sin against the faith and law of my Holy Church. Third, the laborers, or the citizenry, are like untamed bulls, because they do three things. They stamp the ground with their feet; second, they fill themselves to satiety; third, they satisfy their own wishes according to their own desire. The citizenry passionately craves temporal goods now. It sates itself in immoderate gluttony and worldly vanity. It satisfies its carnal delight in an irrational manner.

But although my enemies are many, I have still many friends in their midst, albeit hidden. It was said to Elijah who thought none of my friends was left but himself: ”I have seven thousand men that have not bowed their knees to Baal.” In the same way, although the enemies are many, I still have friends hidden among them who weep daily because my enemies have prevailed and because my name is despised. Like a good and charitable king who knows the evil deeds of the city but patiently endures its inhabitants and sends letters to his friends making them aware of their danger, so too, for the sake of their prayers, I send my words to my friends.

These are not so obscure as those in the Apocalypse that I revealed to John beneath a veil of obscurity in order that they might in their time be explained by my spirit whenever it should please me. Nor are they so hidden that they cannot be uttered - as when Paul saw some of my mysteries that he was not allowed to talk about - but they are so patent that everyone, both small and great, can understand them, so easy that anyone who wants to can grasp them.

Therefore, let my friends see to it that my words reach my enemies, so that perhaps they may be converted, and let their danger and judgment be made known to them, in order that they may feel sorrow for their deeds! Otherwise the city will be judged and, as with a wall that is torn down without leaving stone upon stone or even two stones joined to each other in the foundation, so shall it be for the city, that is, for the world. The judges will surely burn in the hottest of fires. There is no fire hotter than one fed with fat. These judges were fat, since they had more occasions of satisfying their selfishness than others, surpassed others in honor and worldly plenty, and abounded more than others in malice and iniquity.

Therefore, they will fry in the hottest pan. The defenders will be hanged on the highest gibbet. A gibbet consists of two vertical pieces of wood with a third placed on top as a crossbeam. This gibbet with two wooden posts represents their cruel punishment, which is, so to speak, made from two pieces of wood. The first piece means that they did not hope for my eternal reward nor worked to earn it with their deeds. The second piece of wood means that they did not trust in my power and goodness, thinking either I was not able to do all things or did not want to provide for them sufficiently. The wooden crossbeam means their warped conscience - warped, because they well understood what they were doing but did evil and felt no shame about going against their conscience. The rope of the gibbet means everlasting fire that can neither be put out by water nor cut by scissors nor broken and terminated by old age.

On this gibbet of cruel punishment and inextinguishable fire, they will hang in shame like traitors. They will feel distress, because they were disloyal. They will hear taunts, because my words were displeasing to them. Cries of woe will be in their throats, because their own praise and glory delighted them. Living crows, that is, devils who never get their fill, will wound them on this gibbet, but, although they get wounded, they will never be consumed: they will live in torment without end and their tormentors will live without end. They will have unending grief and unmitigated wretchedness. It would have been better for them had they never been born, had their life not been prolonged! The laborers' sentence will be the same as for bulls. Bulls have a very thick hide and flesh. Therefore, their sentence is sharp steel. This sharp steel means the death of hell that will torment those who have scorned me and loved their selfish will rather than my commandment.

The letter, that is, my words, has thus been written. May my friends work to make it reach my enemies wisely and discreetly, in the hope that they listen and repent. If, having heard my words, some should say: ”Let us wait a little while, the time is not yet coming, it is not yet his time.” then, by my divine nature, which cast out Adam from paradise and sent the ten plagues to Pharaoh, I swear that I will come to them sooner than they think. By my human nature, which I assumed without sin from the Virgin unto the salvation of men and in which I suffered affliction in my heart, experiencing pain in my body and death for the life of men, and in which I rose again and ascended and am seated at the right hand of the Father, true God and man in one person, I swear that I will carry out my words.

By my Spirit, which descended on the apostles on the day of Pentecost and so inflamed them that they spoke in the tongues of all peoples, I swear that, unless they mend their ways and return to me like weak servants, I will take vengeance on them in my wrath. Then they will grieve in body and soul. They will grieve that they came alive into the world and lived in the world. They will grieve that the pleasure they had was small and now is meaningless, but that their torture will be forever. Then they will realize what they now refuse to believe, namely, that my words were words of love. Then they will understand that I admonished them like a father, but that they did not want to listen to me. Truly, if they do not believe in the words of goodwill, they will have to believe in the deeds to come.”

The Lord's words to the bride about how he is loathsome and despicable nourishment in the souls of Christians while the world is delightful and beloved to them, and about the terrible sentence passed on such people.

Book 1 - Chapter 57

The Son spoke to the bride: ”Christians are now treating me the way the Jews treated me. The Jews threw me out of the temple and were entirely intent on murdering me, but, because my hour had not yet come, I escaped from their hands. Christians treat me like that now. They throw me out of their temple, I mean, out of their soul, which should be my temple, and would soon kill me if they could. In their mouths I am like rotten and stinking meat, and they think I am telling lies, and they do not care about me at all. They turn their backs on me, but I will turn my face from them, since there is nothing but greed in their mouths and only bestial lust in their flesh. Only conceit delights their eyes, only worldly pleasure delights their eyes. My passion and my love are loathsome to them and my life burdensome.

Hence I will act as the animal that had many dens: when hunters chased it into one den, it escaped into another. I will do this, because I am being chased by Christians with their bad works and cast out of the den of their hearts. I will therefore go into pagans in whose mouths I am now bitter and insipid, but I will become sweeter than honey in their mouths. However, I am still so merciful that I will joyfully welcome anyone who asks for my pardon and says: 'Lord, I know that I have sinned gravely and I freely want to improve my life through your grace. Have mercy on me for the sake of your bitter passion!' However, to those who persist in evil I shall come like a giant that has three characteristics: he is fearsome, strong, and harsh. I will come striking such fear into Christians that they will not dare to lift the least little finger against me. I will also come in such strength that they will be like a midge before me. Third, I will come in such harshness that they will feel grief in the present and will grieve without end.”

The Mother's words to the bride and the sweet words of the Mother and the Son to each other, and about how Christ is bitter, bitterer, most bitter for the wicked, but sweet, sweeter, most sweet for the good.

Book 1 - Chapter 58

The Mother said to the bride: ”Consider, young bride, the passion of my Son. His passion surpassed in bitterness the passion of all the saints. Just as a mother would be most bitterly distraught if she were to see her son being cut in pieces alive, so, too, I was distraught at the passion of my Son when I saw the harshness of it all.” Then she said to her Son: ”Blessed are you, my Son, for you are holy, as it is sung: 'Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Sabaoth.' Blessed are you, for you are sweet, sweeter, and most sweet! You were holy before the incarnation, holy in the womb, holy after the incarnation. You were sweet before the creation of the world, sweeter than the angels, most sweet to me in your incarnation.”

The Son answered: ”Blessed are you, Mother, above all the angels! Just as I was most sweet for you, as you were saying now, so am I bitter, bitterer, most bitter for the wicked. I am bitter for those who say I created many things without a cause, who blaspheme and say that I created people for death and not for life. What a miserable and senseless idea! Did I, who am most just and virtuous, create the angels without a reason? Would I have endowed human nature with such goodness had I created it for damnation? By no means!

I made all things well and out of my love gave every good to mankind. However, mankind turns all good things into evil for itself. It is not that I made anything evil, but they do, by directing their will elsewhere than they otherwise should according to divine law. That is what is evil. I am bitterer for those who say I gave them a free will to sin but not to do good, who say I am unjust because I condemn some people while justifying others, who blame me for their own wickedness because I take my grace away from them.

I am most bitter for those who say my law and commandments are too difficult and that no one is able to carry them out, who say my passion is worthless for them, which is why they count it for nothing. Therefore, I swear on my life, as once I swore by the prophets, that I shall plead my case before the angels and all my saints. Those for whom I am bitter shall prove to themselves that I created all things rationally and well and for the usefulness and instruction of mankind, and that not the least little worm exists without a cause. Those who find me bitterer shall prove to themselves that I wisely gave the human person a free will with respect to the good. They will also discover that I am just, giving the eternal kingdom to good people but punishment to the wicked.

It would not be fitting for the devil, whom I created good but who fell through his own malice, to keep company with the good. The wicked will also find out that it is not my fault that they are wicked but their own. Indeed, if it were possible, I would gladly take on the same punishment for each and every person that once I accepted on the cross for all persons, so that they might return to their promised inheritance.

But humankind is forever opposing their will to mine. I gave them liberty in order to serve me, if they would, and so that they might gain an eternal reward. But if they did not want to, they were to share in the punishment of the devil due to whose malice and its consequences hell was justly created. Because I am full of charity, I did not want humanity to serve me out of fear or be compelled to do so like an irrational animal but out of love for God, because no one who serves me unwillingly or out of the fear of punishment can see my face.

Those for whom I am most bitter will realize in their consciences that my law was gentle and my yoke easy. They will be inconsolably sad that they spurned my law and instead loved the world, whose yoke is heavier and far more difficult than mine.” Then his Mother answered: ”Blessed are you, my Son, my God and my Lord! Since you were my sweet delight, I pray that others may be made partakers in its sweetness.” The Son answered: ”Blessed are you, my dearest Mother! Your words are sweet and full of love. Therefore, it will go well for anyone who receives your sweetness into his mouth and keeps it perfectly. But anyone who receives it and rejects it will be punished all the more bitterly.” Then the Virgin responded: ”Blessed be you, my Son, for all your love!”

Christ's words, in the bride's presence, containing similes in which Christ is compared to a peasant, good priests to a good shepherd, bad priests to a bad shepherd, and good Christians to a wife. These similes are helpful in many ways.

Book 1 - Chapter 59

“I am he who has never uttered a falsehood. The world takes me for a peasant whose very name seems contemptible. My words are held to be foolish and my house is considered a lowly shanty. Now, this peasant had a wife who wanted nothing but what he wanted, who possessed everything in common with her husband and accepted him as her master, obeying him in everything as her master. This peasant also had a lot of sheep, and he hired a shepherd to watch over them for five gold pieces and for the provision of his daily needs. This was a good shepherd who made a right use of the gold and the food as his needs required. As time went by, this shepherd was succeeded by another shepherd, an inferior one, who used the gold to buy himself a wife and gave her his food, constantly taking his rest with her and not caring about the wretched sheep that were being chased and scattered about by ferocious beasts. When the peasant saw his sheep scattered, he cried out saying:

'My shepherd is unfaithful to me. My sheep have been scattered and some of them have been devoured fleece and all by ferocious beasts, while others have died but their bodies have been left uneaten.' Then his wife said to her husband the peasant: 'My lord, it is certain that we will not get back the bodies that have been devoured. But, let us carry home and make use of those bodies that remain intact, although there is no breath in them. We will not be able to bear it, if we are to be left with nothing.' Her husband answered her: 'What shall we do? Since the animals had venom in their teeth, the flesh of the sheep has become infected with deadly venom, the hide is ruined, the wool is all matted.' His wife answered: 'If everything has been wasted and everything gone, what, then, shall we live on?' Her husband answered:

'I see there are some sheep still alive in three places. Some of them resemble the dead sheep and dare not breathe out of fright. Others are lying deep in mud and cannot manage to raise themselves up. Still others are in hiding places and dare not come out. Come, wife, let us lift up the sheep that are trying to stand up but cannot do so without help, and let us make use of them!' Behold, I the Lord am that peasant. Men think of me as of an ass of a donkey raised in its stall according to its nature and habits. My name is the mind of Holy Church. She is thought of as contemptible, inasmuch as the sacraments of the church, baptism, anointing, unction, penance, and matrimony, are, as it were, received with derision and administered to others with greed.

My words are held to be foolish, inasmuch as the words of my mouth, which I spoke in parables, have been converted from spiritual understanding to entertainment for the senses. My house is looked on as contemptible, inasmuch as the things of earth are loved rather than the things of heaven. The first shepherd I had symbolizes my friends, that is, the priests I used to have in the holy church, for by 'one' I mean many. I entrusted them with my sheep, that is, with my most venerable body for them to consecrate, and with the souls of my chosen ones for them to govern and defend. I also gave them five good things, more precious than gold, namely, an understanding insight about all abstruse matters in order for them to distinguish between good and evil, between truth and falsehood.

Second, I gave them insight and wisdom in spiritual matters; this has now been forgotten and human wisdom is loved instead. Third, I gave them chastity; fourth, temperance and abstinence in all things for self-control over their body; fifth, steadfastness in good habits, words, and deeds. After this first shepherd, I mean, after these friends of mine who used to be in my church in former times, other wicked shepherds now entered. They bought a wife for themselves in exchange for the gold, that is, in exchange for chastity and for those five good things they took to themselves the body of a woman, that is, incontinence. My spirit has therefore departed from them.

When they are entirely intent on sinning and on satisfying their wife, that is, their lust, according to their good pleasure, my spirit is absent from them, since they do not care about the loss of the sheep, so long as they can follow their self-will. The sheep that were completely devoured represent those whose souls are in hell and whose bodies are buried in tombs and who await the resurrection of eternal damnation. The sheep whose bodies remain but whose spirit has been taken away stand for those people who neither love nor fear me nor feel any devotion or care toward me.

My spirit is far from them, since the venomous teeth of the beasts have envenomed their flesh; in other words, their thoughts and spirit, as symbolized by the sheep's innards and flesh, are in every way as disgusting to me and as repulsive a repast as is poisoned meat. Their hide, that is, their body, is barren of any goodness and charity and unfit for service in my king dom. Instead, it will be delivered to the everlasting fire of hell after the judgment. Their wool, that is, their deeds, are so totally useless that there is nothing in them that might earn them my love and grace.

What, then, o wife of mine, that is, o good Christians, whom the wife symbolizes, what can we do? I see there are sheep still alive in three places. Some of them resemble the dead sheep and dare not breathe out of fright. These are those gentiles who would be glad to have the true faith, if only they knew it. However, they dare not breathe, that is, they do not dare to lose the faith they have and they do not dare to accept the true faith. The second group of sheep is those standing in hiding places, who dare not come out. These are the Jews who, so to speak, are behind a veil. They would gladly come out, if they knew for certain that I had been born. They hide themselves beneath a veil, inasmuch as their hope for salvation is in the figures and signs that used to symbolize me in the Law but which have been truly fulfilled in me. Because of their empty hope they are afraid to come out to the right faith. In the third place, the sheep standing in the mud are Christians in the state of mortal sin. Because they fear punishment they would gladly get back up, but they are unable to do so due to their grave sins and because they lack charity.

Therefore, o my wife, o my good Christians, help me! Just as woman and man are considered to be one flesh and one limb, so the Christian is my limb and I am his, since I am in him and he is in me. So then, my wife, my good Christians, run with me to the sheep that still have some breath left and let us lift them up and revive them! Have compassion on me, because I bought my sheep very dearly! Let us carry them together! You hold the back while I hold the head! I rejoice to carry them in my arms. Once I carried them all on my back when my back was all wounded and fastened to the cross.

O my friends, I love these sheep so tenderly that, if it were possible to suffer such a death for any one sheep individually as once I suffered on the cross for all of them, I would rather redeem them in this way than lose them. Hence, with all my heart, I cry out to my friends not to be sparing of toil or goods for my sake. If I was not spared reproaches while I was in the world, then they should not spare themselves in speaking the truth about me. I did not blush to die a contemptible death for them, but stood there just as I had been born, naked before the eyes of my enemies. I was struck in the teeth with their fists; I was dragged by the hair with their fingers; I was scourged by their scourges; I was fastened to the wood with their tools, and hung on the cross together with thieves and robbers.

Wherefore, my friends, do not spare your toil for me who endured these things out of love for you! Toil manfully and bring help to all my needy sheep! Upon my human nature, which is in the Father as the Father is in me, and upon my divine nature, which is in my Spirit as the Spirit is in it and as the same Spirit is in me and I in him, these three being one God in three Persons, I swear that I shall go out to meet those toiling to carry my sheep with me and help them as they go along. And I shall give them a precious reward: myself, unto their everlasting joy.”

The Son's words to the bride about three kinds of Christians, symbolized by the Jews living in Egypt, and about how these revelations were given to the bride in order to be transmitted and published and preached to ignorant persons by the friends of God.

Book 1 - Chapter 60

The Son spoke to the bride, saying: ”I am the God of Israel, the one who spoke with Moses. When he was sent to my people, Moses asked for a sign, saying, 'The people will not believe me otherwise.' If the people to whom Moses was sent belonged to the Lord, why did he lack confidence? You should know that there were three kinds of people among the Jews. Some of them believed in God and Moses. Others believed in God but lacked confidence in Moses, wondering if, perhaps, he was presuming to say and do these things out of his own invention and presumption. The third kind were those who neither believed in God nor in Moses.

Likewise, there are now three kinds of people among Christians as symbolized by the Hebrews. There are some who really believe in God and in my words. There are others who believe in God but lack confidence in my words, because they do not know how to distinguish between a good and a bad spirit. The third are those who neither believe in me nor in you to whom I have spoken my words. But, as I said, although some of the Hebrews lacked confidence in Moses, nevertheless they all crossed the Red Sea with him into the desert where the ones who were lacking in confidence worshipped idols and provoked God to anger, which is why they also met their end in a miserable death, although only those who had bad faith did so.

For this reason, since the human spirit is slow to believe, my friend must transmit my words to those who have faith in him. Afterward they will spread them to others who do not know how to distinguish a good from a bad spirit. If the hearers ask them for a sign, let them show those people a staff, just as Moses did, I mean, have them explain my words to them. The staff of Moses was straight and, due to its transformation into a snake, frightening as well. In the same way my words are straight and no falsehood is found in them. They are frightening, for they tell a true judgment. Let them explain and declare that, by the words and sound of a single mouth, the devil withdrew from God's creature - that same devil who could move mountains, were he not restrained by my power.

What kind of power belonged to him with God's permission when he was made to flee at the sound of a single word? Accordingly, in the same way as those Hebrews who neither believed in God nor in Moses yet left Egypt for the promised land, being, as it were, forced along together with the others, so too, many Christians will now go out unwillingly together with my chosen ones, not trusting in my power to save them. They do not believe in my words by any means; they have only a false hope in my power. Nevertheless, my words shall be fulfilled without their willing it, and they shall, as it were, be forced along to perfection until they get to where it suits me.”

The Son's instruction to the bride about the devil; the Son's answer to the bride about why he does not remove evildoers before they fall into sin; and about how the kingdom of heaven is given to baptized persons who die before reaching the age of discretion.

Book 2 - Chapter 1

The Son spoke to the bride, saying: ”When the devil tempts you, tell him these three things: 'The words of God cannot be anything but true.' Second: 'Nothing is impossible for God, because he can do all things.' Third: 'You, devil, could not give me so great a fervor of love as that which God gives me.' ” Again the Lord spoke to the bride, saying: ”I look at people in three ways: first, their outer body and what condition it is in; second, their inner conscience, what it tends toward and in what way; third, their heart and what it desires. Like a bird that sees a fish in the sea and assesses the depth of the water and also takes note of storm winds, I, too, know and assess the ways of each person and take note of what is due to each, for I am keener of sight and can assess the human situation better than a person knows his own self.

Therefore, because I see and know all things, you might ask me why I do not take evildoers away before they fall into the depths of sin. I myself asked the question and I myself will answer it for you: I am the Creator of all things, and all things are foreknown to me. I know and see all that has been and all that will be. But, although I know and can do all things, still, for reasons of justice, I no more interfere with the natural constitution of the body than I do with the inclination of the soul. Each human being continues in existence according to the natural constitution of the body such as it is and was from all eternity in my foreknowledge. The fact that one person has a longer life and another a shorter has to do with natural strength or weakness and is related to a person's physical constitution. It is not due to my foreknowledge that one person loses his sight or another becomes lame or something like that, since my foreknowledge of all things is such that no one is the worse for it, nor is it harmful to anyone.

Moreover, these things do not occur because of the course and position of the heavenly elements, but due to some hidden principle of justice in the constitution and conservation of nature. For sin and natural disorder bring about the deformity of the body in many ways. This does not happen because I will it directly, but because I permit it to happen for the sake of justice. Even though I can do all things, still I do not obstruct justice. Accordingly, the length or brevity of a person's life is related to the weakness or strength of his physical constitution such as it was in my foreknowledge that no one can contravene.

You can understand this by way of a simile. Imagine that there were two roads with one road leading up to them. There were a great many graves in both roads, crossing and overlapping one another. The end of one of the two roads dropped directly downward; the end of the other tended upward. At the crossroads was written: 'Whoever travels this road begins it in physical pleasure and delight and ends it in great wretchedness and shame. Whoever takes the other road begins it in moderate and endurable exertion but reaches the end in great joy and consolation.' A person walking along on the single road was completely blind. However, when he reached the crossroads, his eyes were opened, and he saw what was written about how the two roads ended.

While he was studying the sign and thinking it over to himself, there suddenly appeared next to him two men who were entrusted with guarding the two roads. As they observed the wayfarer at the crossroads, they said to each other: 'Let us carefully observe which road he chooses to take and then he will belong to that one of us whose road he selects.' The wayfarer, however, was considering to himself the ends and advantages of each road. He made the prudent decision of selecting the road whose beginning involved some pain but had joy at the end, rather than the road that began in joy but ended in pain. He decided that it was more sensible and endurable to get tired from a little exertion at the start but rest in safety at the end.

Do you understand what all this means? I shall tell you. These two roads are the good and the evil within human reach. It lies within a person's power and free will to choose whatever he or she likes upon reaching the age of discretion. A single road leads up to the two roads of the choice between good and evil; in other words, the time of childhood leads up to the age of discretion. The man walking on this first road is like a blind man because he is, as it were, blind from his childhood up until he reaches the age of discretion, not knowing how to distinguish between good and evil, between sin and virtue, between what is commanded and what is forbidden.

The man walking on this first road, that is, in the age of boyhood, is like a blind man. However, when he reaches the crossroads, that is, the age of discretion, the eyes of his understanding are opened. He then knows how to decide whether it is better to experience a little pain but eternal joy or a little joy and eternal pain. Whichever road he chooses, he will not lack those who carefully count his steps. There are many graves on these roads, one after the other, one over against the other, because, both in youth and in old age, one person may die earlier, another later, one in youth, another in old age. The end of this life is fittingly symbolized by graves: it will come to everyone, one in this way, another in that, according to each one's natural constitution and exactly as I have foreknown it.

If I took anyone away against the body's natural constitution, the devil would have grounds of accusation against me. Accordingly, in order that the devil might not find anything in me that goes against justice in the least, I no more interfere with the natural constitution of the body than I do with the constitution of the soul. But consider my goodness and mercy! For, as the teacher says, I give virtue to those who do not have any virtue. By reason of my great love I give the kingdom of heaven to all of the baptized who die before reaching the age of discretion. As it is written: It has pleased my Father to give the kingdom of heaven to such as these. By reason of my tender love, I even show mercy to the infants of pagans.

If any of them die before reaching the age of discretion, given that they cannot come to know me face to face, they go instead to a place that it is not permitted for you to know but where they will live without suffering. Those who have advanced from the one road reach those two roads, that is, the age of discretion between good and evil. It is then in their power to choose what pleases them most. Their reward will follow the inclination of their will, since by that time they know how to read the sign written at the crossroads telling them that it is better to experience a little pain at the start and joy ready and waiting for them than experience joy at the start and pain at the end. Sometimes it does happen that people are taken away earlier than their natural physical constitution would normally allow, for example, through homicide, drunkenness, and things of that kind.

This is because the devil's wickedness is such that the sinner in this case would receive an extremely long-lasting punishment if he were to continue in the world for any great length of time. Therefore, some people are taken away earlier than their natural physical condition would allow due to the demands of justice and because of their sins. Their removal has been foreknown to me from all eternity, and it is impossible for anyone to contravene my foreknowledge. Sometimes good people are also taken away earlier than their natural physical constitution would allow. Because of the great love I have toward them, and because of their burning love and their efforts to discipline the body for my sake, justice sometimes requires that they be taken away, as foreknown to me from all eternity. Thus, I no more interfere with the natural constitution of the body than I do with the constitution of the soul.”

The Son's indictment of a certain soul who was to be condemned in the presence of the bride, and Christ's answer to the devil about why he permitted this soul and permits other evildoers to touch and take or receive his own true body.

Book 2 - Chapter 2

God appeared angry and said: ”This work of my hands, whom I destined for great glory, holds me in much contempt. This soul, to whom I offered all my loving care, did three things to me: He averted his eyes from me and turned them toward the enemy. He fixed his will on the world. He put his confidence in himself, because he was free to sin against me. For this reason, because he did not bother to have any regard for me, I brought my sudden justice upon him. Because he had fixed his will against me and put false confidence in himself, I took away from him the object of his desire.” Then a devil cried out, saying: ”Judge, this soul is mine.” The Judge answered: ”What grounds do you bring against him?” He answered: ”My accusation is the statement in your own indictment that he despised you, his Creator, and because of that his soul has become my handmaid.

Besides, since he was suddenly taken away, how could he suddenly begin to please you? For, when he was of sound body and living in the world, he did not serve you with a sincere heart, since he loved created things more fervently, nor did he bear illness patiently or reflect on your works as he ought to have. In the end he was not burning with the fire of charity. He is mine because you have taken him away suddenly.”

The Judge answered: ”A sudden end does not condemn a soul, unless there is inconsistency in her actions. A person's will is not condemned forever without careful deliberation.” Then the Mother of God came and said: ”My Son, if a lazy servant has a friend who is on intimate terms with his master, should not his intimate friend come to his aid? Should he not be saved, if he asks for it, for the sake of the other?” The Judge answered: ”Every act of justice should be accompanied by mercy and wisdom - mercy with respect to remitting severity, wisdom to ensure that equity is maintained. But if the transgression is of such a kind as not to deserve remission, the sentence can still be mitigated for the sake of friendship with out infringing justice. Then his Mother said: ”My blessed Son, this soul had me constantly in mind and showed me reverence and was often moved to celebrate the great solemnity for my sake, even though he was cold toward you. So, have mercy on him!”

The Son answered: ”Blessed Mother, you know and see all things in me. Even though this soul kept you in mind, he did so more for the sake of his temporary than his spiritual welfare. He did not treat my most pure body as he should have. His foul mouth kept him from enjoying my charity. Worldly love and dissolution hid my suffering from him. His taking my pardon too much for granted and not thinking about his end accelerated his death. Although he received me continuously, it did not improve him much, because he did not prepare himself properly. A person who wishes to receive his noble Lord and guest should not only get the guest room ready but also all the utensils. This man did not do so, since, although he cleaned the house, he did not sweep it reverently with care. He did not strew the floor with the flowers of his virtues or fill the utensils of his limbs with abstinence. Therefore, you see well enough that what must be done to him is what he deserves.

Although I may be invulnerable and beyond comprehension and am everywhere by reason of my divinity, my delight is in the pure, even if I enter the good and the damned alike. The good receive my body, which was crucified and ascended into heaven, which was prefigured by the manna and by the widow's flour. The wicked do so likewise, but, whereas for the good it leads to greater strength and consolation, for the wicked it leads to an even more just condemnation, inasmuch as they, in their unworthiness, are not afraid to approach so worthy a sacrament.” The devil answered: ”If he approached you unworthily and his sentence was made stricter because of this, why did you permit him to approach you and touch you despite his unworthiness?”

The Judge answered: ”You are not asking this out of love, since you have none, but my power compels you to ask it for the sake of this bride of mine who is listening. In the same way in which both the good and bad handled me in my human nature in order to prove the reality of my human nature as well as my patient humility, so too good and wicked alike eat me at the altar - the good unto their greater perfection, the bad in order that they may not believe themselves to be already damned and so that, having received my body, they might be converted, provided they decide to reform their intention. What greater love can I show them than that I, the most pure, will enter even the impurest of vessels (although like the material sun I cannot be defiled by anything)? You and your comrades despise this love, for you have hardened yourselves against love.”

Then the Mother spoke again: ”My good Son, whenever he approached you, he was still reverent toward you, though not as he should have been. He also repents of having offended you, though not perfectly. My Son, for my sake, consider this to his advantage.” The Son answered: ”As the prophet said, I am the true sun, although I am far better than the material sun. The material sun does not penetrate mountains or minds, but I can do both.

A mountain can stand in the way of the material sun with the result that the sunlight does not reach the land nearby, but what can stand in my way except the sinfulness that prevents this soul from being affected by my love? Even if a part of the mountain were removed, the neighboring land would still not receive the warmth of the sun. And if I were to enter into one part of a pure mind, what consolation would it be to me if I could smell a stench from another part? Therefore, one should get rid of everything that is dirty, and then sweet enjoyment will follow upon beautiful cleanliness.” His Mother answered: ”May your will be done with all mercy!”


This was a priest who had often received warnings regarding his incontinent behavior and who did not want to listen to reason. One day when he went out to the meadow to groom his horse, there came thunder and lightning that struck and killed him. His whole body was left unscathed except for his private parts, which could be seen to be completely burned. Then the Spirit of God said: ”Daughter, those who get themselves entangled in such wretched pleasures deserve to suffer in their souls what this man suffered in his body.”

Words of amazement from the Mother of God to the bride, and about five houses in the world whose inhabitants represent five states of people, namely unfaithful Christians, obstinate Jews and pagans separately, Jews and Pagans together, and the friends of God. This chapter contains many useful remarks.

Book 2 - Chapter 3

Mary said: ”It is a terrible thing that the Lord of all things and the King of glory is despised. He was like a pilgrim on earth, wandering from place to place, knocking on many doors, like a wayfarer seeking welcome. The world was like an estate that had five houses. When my Son came dressed as a pilgrim to the first house, he knocked on the door and said: 'Friend, open up and let me enter to rest and stay with you, so that the wild animals do not harm me, so that storm-showers and rain may not fall upon me! Give me some of your clothes to warm me from the cold, to cover me in my nakedness! Give me some of your food to refresh me in my hunger and something to drink to revive me. You will receive a reward from your God!'

The person inside answered: 'You are far too impatient, so you are unable to live with us peaceably. You are far too tall. For that reason we are unable to clothe you. You are far too greedy and gluttonous, so we are unable to satisfy you, for there is no end to your greedy appetite.' Christ the pilgrim responded from outside: 'Friend, let me in cheerfully and voluntarily. I do not need much room. Give me some of your clothes, since there are no clothes in your house so small that they will not be able to offer me at least some warmth! Give me some of your food, since even a tiny morsel can satisfy me and a mere drop of water will refresh and strengthen me.' The person inside replied: 'We know you well enough.

You are humble in speech but importunate in your requests. You seem easily contented but are in fact insatiable when it comes to having your fill. You are far too cold and hard to clothe. Go away, I will not take you in!' Then he came to the second house and said: 'Friend, open up and look at me! I will give you what you need. I will defend you from your enemies.' The person inside answered: 'My eyes are weak. It would hurt them to look at you. I have plenty of everything and I have no need of anything of yours. I am strong and powerful. Who can harm me?' Coming, then, to the third house, he said: 'Friend, lend me your ears and hear me! Stretch forth your hands and take hold of me! Open your mouth and taste me!'

The inhabitant of the house answered: 'Shout louder so I can hear you better! If you are nice, I will draw you to myself. If you are pleasant, I will you let in.' Then he went to the fourth house whose door was about half-open. He said: 'Friend, if you were to consider that your time has been uselessly spent, you would take me in. If you were to understand and to listen to what I have done for you, you would have compassion on me. If you paid heed to how much you have offended me, you would sigh and beg for forgiveness.' The man answered: 'We are nearly dead from waiting and longing for you. Have compassion on our wretchedness and we will be most ready to give ourselves to you. Behold our misery and look on the anguish of our body, and we will be ready for your every wish.' Then he came to the fifth house, which was completely open. He said: 'Friend, I would gladly enter here, but know that I seek a softer resting-place than that provided by a feather-bed, a greater warmth than can be had from wool, a fresher food than fresh animal meat can offer.'

Those who were inside answered: 'We have hammers lying here at our feet. We will gladly use them to shatter our feet and legs, and we will give you the marrow flowing from them to be your resting-place. We will gladly open up our inmost parts and entrails for you. Come right in! There is nothing softer than our marrow for you to rest upon, and nothing better than our inmost parts to warm you. Our heart is fresher than the fresh meat of animals. We shall be happy to cut it up for your food. Just come in! For you are sweet to taste and wonderful to enjoy!' The inhabitants of these five houses represent five different states of people in the world. The first are the unfaithful Christians who call my Son's sentences unjust, his promises false, and his commandments unbearable.

These are the ones who in their thoughts and in their minds and in their blasphemy say to my Son's preachers: 'Almighty he may well be, but he is far away and cannot be reached. He is high and wide and cannot be clothed. He is insatiable and cannot be fed. He is most impatient and there is no getting along with him.' They say he is far away because they are weak in good deeds and charity and do not try to rise up to his goodness. They say he is wide, because their own greediness knows no limit: they are always pretending they lack or need something and are always imagining problems before they come. They also charge him with being insatiable, because heaven and earth are not enough for him, but he demands even greater gifts from mankind.

They think it foolish to give up everything for the sake of their soul in accordance with the precept, and harmful to give the body less. They say he is impatient, because he hates vice and sends them things against their will. They think nothing is fine and useful except that which the pleasure of the body suggests to them. Of course, my Son is indeed almighty in heaven and on earth, the Creator of all things and created by none, existing prior to everything, after whom no one is to come. He is indeed farthest away and widest and highest, within and without and above all things.

Yet although he is so powerful, still in his love he wants to be clothed with human help - he who has no need of clothing, who clothes all things and is himself clothed eternally and unchangeably in perpetual honor and glory. He, who is the bread of angels and of men, who feeds all things and himself needs nothing, wants to be fed with human love. He who is the restorer and author of peace asks for peace from men. Therefore, whoever wants to welcome him in a cheerful mind can satisfy him with even a morsel of bread, so long as his intention is good. He can clothe him with a single thread, so long as his love is burning. A single drop can still his thirst, provided a person has the right dispositions.

So long as a person's devotion is fervent and steadfast, he is capable of welcoming my Son into his heart and speaking with him. God is spirit and, for that reason, he has willed to transform creatures of flesh into spiritual beings and ephemeral beings into eternal ones. He thinks that whatever happens to the members of his body also happens to himself. He takes into account not only a person's work or abilities, but also the fervor of his will and the intention with which a work is carried out. In truth, the more my Son cries out to these people through hidden inspirations, and the more he admonishes them through his preachers, the more they harden their will against him.

They do not listen or open the door of their will to him or let him in by means of charitable acts. Therefore, when their time comes, the falsehood they rely on will be annihilated, truth will be exalted, and the glory of God made manifest. The second ones are obstinate Jews. These people seem to themselves to be reasonable in every way and they regard wisdom as being legal justice. They assert their own deeds and hold them to be more honorable than the works of others. If they hear of the things my Son has done, they hold them in contempt. If they hear his words and commandments, they react with scorn.

Worse still, they would regard themselves as sinful and unclean if they were but to hear and reflect on anything having to do with my Son and as even more wretched and miserable if they were to imitate his works. But while the winds of worldly fortune still blow upon them, they think themselves most lucky. So long as their physical forces are sound, they believe themselves to be most strong. For that reason, their hopes will come to nothing and their honor will turn into shame.

The third ones are the pagans. Some of them cry out in mockery each day: 'Who is this Christ? If he is gracious in giving present goods, we shall gladly receive him. If he is gentle in condoning sins, we shall even more gladly honor him.' But these people have closed the eyes of their mind so as not to perceive the justice and mercy of God. They stop up their ears and do not hear what my Son has done for them and for everyone. They shut their mouths and do not inquire what their future will be like or what is to their advantage. They fold their arms and refuse to make an effort to search out the way in which they might escape lies and find the truth. Therefore, since they do not want to understand or take precautions, although they can and have the time to do so, they and their house will fall and be enveloped by the tempest.

The fourth ones are those Jews and pagans who would like to be Christians, if they only knew how and in what way to please my Son and if only they had a helper. They hear from people in neighboring regions everyday, and also know from the appeals of love within themselves, as well as from other signs, how much my Son has done and suffered for everyone. This is why they cry out to him in their conscience and say:

'O Lord, we have heard that you promised to give yourself to us. So we are waiting for you. Come and fulfill your promise! We see and understand that there is no divine power in those who are worshipped as gods, no love of souls, no appreciation of chastity. We only find in them carnal motives, a love for the honors of the present world. We know about the Law and hear about the great works you have performed in mercy and justice, We hear from the sayings of your prophets that they were awaiting you whom they had foretold. So come, kind Lord! We would like to give ourselves to you, because we understand that in you there is love for souls, the right use of all things, perfect purity, and life everlasting. Come without delay and enlighten us, for we are nearly dead from waiting for you!' That is how they cry out to my Son. This explains why their door is half-open, because their intention is complete with respect to the good, but they have not yet attained its fulfillment. These are people who deserve to have the grace and consolation of my Son.

In the fifth house are the friends of my Son and me. The door of their mind is completely open for my Son. They are glad to hear him calling. They not only open when he knocks but joyfully run to meet him as he comes in. With the hammers of the divine precepts they shatter anything they find distorted in themselves. They prepare a resting-place for my Son, not out of the feathers of birds but out of the harmony of the virtues and the curbing of evil affections, which is the very marrow of all the virtues. They offer my Son a kind of warmth that does not come from wool but from a love so fervent that they not only give their belongings to him but their very selves as well. They also prepare food for him that is fresher than any meat: it is their perfect heart that does not desire or love anything but its God.

The Lord of Heaven dwells in their hearts, and God who nourishes all things is sweetly nourished by their charity. They keep their eyes continually on the door lest the enemy enter, they keep their ears turned toward the Lord, and their hands ready for doing battle against the enemy. Imitate them, my daughter, as far as you are able, because their foundation is built on solid rock The other houses have their foundations in mud, which is why they will be shaken when the wind comes.”

The words of the Mother of God to her Son on behalf of his bride, and about how Christ is compared to Salomon, and about the severe sentence against false Christians.

Book 2 - Chapter 4

The Mother of God spoke to her Son, saying: ”My Son, look how your bride is crying because you have few friends and many enemies.” The Son answered: ”It is written that the sons of the kingdom will be cast out and will not inherit the kingdom. It is likewise written that a certain queen came from far away to see the riches of Salomon and to hear his wisdom. When she saw it all, she was breathless from sheer amazement. The people of his kingdom, however, paid no attention to his wisdom nor admired his riches. I am prefigured by Solomon, although I am far richer and wiser than Solomon was, inasmuch as all wisdom comes from me and anyone who is wise gets his wisdom from me. My riches are eternal life and indescribable glory. I promised and offered these goods to Christians as to my own children, in order that they might possess them forever, if they imitated me and believed in my words. But they pay no attention to my wisdom.

They hold my deeds and my promises in scorn and regard my riches as worthless. What shall I do with them then? Surely, if the sons do not want their inheritance, then strangers, that is, pagans will receive it. Like that foreign queen, whom I take to represent faithful souls, they will come and admire the wealth of my glory and charity, so much so that they will fall away from their spirit of infidelity and be filled with my Spirit. What, then, shall I do with the sons of the kingdom? I will deal with them in the manner of a skillful potter who, when he observes that the first object he has made out of clay is neither beautiful nor useable, throws it to the earth and crushes it. I will deal with Christians in the same way. Although they ought to be mine, since I formed them in my image and redeemed them with my blood, they have turned out to be pitiably deformed. Therefore, they will be trampled down like earth and thrown into hell.”

The Lord' s words in the presence of the bride concerning his own majesty, and a wonderful parable comparing Christ to David, while Jews, bad Christians, and pagans are compared to David's three sons, and about how the church subsists in the seven sacraments.

Book 2 - Chapter 5

“I am God, not made of stone or wood nor created by another but the Creator of the universe, abiding without beginning or end. I am he who came into the Virgin and was with the Virgin without losing my divinity. Through my human nature I was in the Virgin while still retaining my divine nature, and I am that same person who, through my divine nature, continued to rule over heaven and earth together with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Through my Spirit I set the Virgin on fire - not in the sense that the Spirit that set her on fire was something separate from me, but the Spirit that set her on fire was the same one who was in the Father and in me, the Son, just as the Father and the Son were in him, these three being one God, not three gods.

I am like King David who had three sons. One of them was called Absalom, and he sought the life of his father. The second, Adonijah, sought his father's kingdom. The third son, Solomon, obtained the kingdom. The first son denotes the Jews. They are the people who sought my life and death and scorned my counsel. Consequently, now that their requital is known, I can say what David said upon the death of his son: 'My son, Absalom!” that is: O my Jewish children, where is your longing and expectation now? O my children, what will be your end now? I felt compassion for you because you longed for me to come - for me whom you learned from many signs had come - and because you longed for quickly fading glory, all of which now has faded. But I feel greater compassion for you now, like David repeating those first words over and over, because I see that you will end in a wretched death.

Therefore, again like David, I say with all my love: 'My son, who will let me die in your stead?' David knew well that he could not bring back his dead son by dying himself, but, in order to show his deep fatherly affection and the eager yearning of his will, even though he knew it was impossible, he was prepared to die in the place of his son. In the same way, I now say: O my Jewish children, although you had ill-will toward me and did as much as you could against me, if it were possible and if my Father allowed it, I would willingly die once again for you, for I take pity on the misery you have brought upon yourselves as required by justice. I told you what was to be done by my words and showed you by my example. I went ahead of you like a hen protecting you with wings of love, but you spurned it all. Therefore, all the things that you longed for have fled away. Your end is misery and all your labor wasted.

Bad Christians are denoted by David's second son who sinned against his father in his old age. He reasoned with himself in this way: 'My father is an old man and failing in strength. If I say anything wrong to him, he does not respond. If I do anything against him, he does not avenge himself. If I assail him, he endures it patiently. Therefore, I will do what I want.' With some of his father David's servants, he went up to a grove of few trees in order to play the king. But when the wisdom and intention of his father became evident, he changed his plan and those who were with him fell into discredit.
This is what Christians are doing to me now. They think to themselves: 'God's signs and decisions are not as manifest now as they were before. We can say what we like, since he is merciful and pays no attention. Let us do as we please, since he gives way easily.' They have no faith in my power, as if I were weaker now in accomplishing my will than I was before.

They imagine my love to be less, as if I am no longer as willing to have mercy on them as on their fathers. They also think that my judgment is a thing to be laughed at and that my justice is meaningless. Therefore, they, too, go up to a grove with some of David's servants in order to play the king with presumption. What does this grove of few trees denote, if not the Holy Church subsisting through the seven sacraments as through just a few trees? They enter into this church along with some of David's servants, that is, with a few good works, in order to gain God's kingdom with presumption.

They do a modest number of good works, confident that thereby, no matter what state of sin they are in or whatever sins they have committed, they can still gain the kingdom of heaven as if by hereditary right. David's son wanted to obtain the kingdom against David's will but was driven away in disgrace, inasmuch as both he and his ambition were unjust, and the kingdom was given to a better and wiser man. In the same way, these people will also be driven away from my kingdom.

It will be given to those who do the will of David, since only a person who has charity can obtain my kingdom. Only a person who is pure and is led by my heart can approach me who am the most pure of all.
Solomon was the third son of David. He represents the pagans. When Bathsheba heard that someone other than Solomon - whom David had promised would be king after him - had been elected by certain persons, she went to David and said: 'My lord, you swore to me that Solomon would be king after you. Now, however, someone else has been elected.

If this is the case and it goes on in this way, I will end up being sentenced to the fire as an adulteress and my son will be regarded as illegitimate.' When David heard this, he stood up and said: 'I swear to God that Solomon will sit on my throne and be king after me.' He then ordered his servants to set Solomon on the throne and proclaim as king the man of David's choice. They carried out the orders of their lord and raised up Solomon to great power, and all those who had given their vote to his brother were scattered and reduced to servitude. This Bathsheba, who would have been accounted an adulteress had another king been elected, stands for nothing other than the faith of the pagans.

No kind of adultery is worse than selling oneself into prostitution away from God and from the true faith and believing in a god other than the Creator of universe. Just as Bathsheba did, some of the Gentiles come to me with humble and contrite hearts, saying: 'Lord, you promised that in the future we would be Christians. Carry out your promise! If another king, if another faith other than yours should gain the ascendancy over us, if you remove yourself from us, we will burn in misery and die like an adulteress who has taken an adulterer instead of a lawful husband. Besides, although you live forever, nevertheless, you will die to us and we to you in the sense that you will remove your grace from our hearts and we will set ourselves up against you due to our lack of faith. Therefore, fulfill your promise and strengthen our weakness and enlighten our darkness! If you delay, if you remove yourself from us, we will perish.' Having heard this, I will stand up like David through my grace and mercy.

I swear by my divine nature, which is joined to my humanity, and by my human nature, which is in my Spirit, and by my Spirit, which is in my divine and human natures, these three being not three gods but one God, that I will fulfill my promise. I will send my friends to bring my son Solomon, that is, the pagans, into the grove, that is, into the church, which subsists through the seven sacraments as through seven trees (namely baptism, penance, the anointment of confirmation, the sacrament of the altar and of the priesthood, matrimony, and extreme unction). They will take their rest upon my throne, that is, in the true faith of the Holy Church.

Moreover, the bad Christians will become their servants. The former will find their joy in an everlasting heritage and in the sweet nourishment that I will prepare for them. The latter, however, will groan in the misery that will begin for them in the present and last forever. And so, since it is still the time for vigilance, may my friends not fall asleep, may they not grow weary, for a glorious reward awaits their toil!”

The Son's words in the presence of the bride concerning a king standing on a battlefield with friends to his right and enemies to his left, and about how the king represents Christ who has Christians to the right and pagans to the left, and about how the Christians are rejected and he sends his preachers to the pagans.

Book 2 - Chapter 6

The Son said: ”I am like a king standing in a battlefield with friends standing to his right and enemies to his left. The voice of someone shouting came to those who stood on the right where everyone was well armed. Their helmets were fastened and their faces were turned to their lord. The voice shouted to them: 'Turn to me and trust me! I have gold to give you.' When they heard this, they turned toward him. The voice spoke a second time to those who had turned around: 'If you want to see the gold, unfasten your helmets, and if you want to keep it, I will fasten your helmets on again as I wish.' When they assented, he fastened their helmets on back to front. The result was that the front part with the apertures to see through was at the back of their heads while the helmets' back part covered their eyes so that they were unable to see. Shouting like this, he led them after him like blind men.

When this had been done, some of the king's friends reported to their lord that his enemies had tricked his men. He said to his friends: 'Go out among them and cry out: Unfasten your helmets and see how you have been deceived! Turn back to me and I will welcome you in peace!' They did not want to listen, but regarded it as mockery. The servants heard this and reported it to their lord. He said: 'Well then, since they have scorned me, go quickly toward the left-hand side and tell those who stand on the left these three things: The way that leads you to life has been prepared for you. The gate is open. And the lord himself wants to come to meet you with peace. Believe therefore firmly that the way has been prepared! Have a steadfast hope that the gate is open and his words are true! Go to meet the lord with love, and he will welcome you with love and peace and lead you to everlasting peace!' When they heard the messengers' words, they believed in them and were welcomed in peace.

I am that king. I had Christians to my right, since I had prepared an eternal reward for them. Their helmets were fastened and their faces were turned toward me so long as they wholly intended to do my will, to obey my commandments, and so long as all their desire aimed at heaven. By and by the devil's voice, that is, pride, sounded in the world and showed them worldly riches and carnal pleasure. They turned toward it by yielding their assent and desires to pride. Because of pride, they took off their helmets by putting their desires into effect and preferring temporal to spiritual goods. Now that they have put aside the helmets of God's will and the weapons of virtue, pride has got such a hold of them and so bound them to itself that they are only too happy to go on sinning right to the end and would be glad to live forever, provided they could sin forever.

Pride has so blinded them that the apertures of the helmets through which they should be able to see are at the back of their heads and in front of them is darkness. What do these apertures in the helmets represent if not the consideration of the future and the provident circumspection of present realities? Through the first aperture, they should see the delight of future rewards and the horrors of future punishments as well as the awful sentence of God. Through the second aperture, they should see God's commandments and prohibitions, also how much they may have transgressed God's commandments and how they should improve. But these apertures are at the back of the head where nothing can be seen, which means that the consideration of heavenly realities has fallen into disregard.

Their love for God has grown cold, while their love for the world is considered with delight and embraced in such away that it leads them like a well-oiled wheel whither it will. However, seeing me dishonored and souls falling away and the devil gaining control, my friends cry out daily to me in their prayers for them. Their prayers have reached heaven and come to my hearing. Moved by their prayers, I have daily sent my preachers to these people and shown them signs and increased my graces to them. But, in their scorn for it all, they have piled sin upon sin.

Therefore, I shall now say to my servants and I shall put my words most assuredly into effect: My servants, go to the left-hand side, that is, to the pagans, and say: 'The Lord of heaven and the Creator of the universe would have the following said to you: The way of heaven is open for you. Have the will to enter it with a firm faith! The gate of heaven stands open for you. Hope firmly and you will enter through it! The King of heaven and the Lord of angels will personally come out to meet you and give you everlasting peace and blessing. Go out to meet him and receive him with the faith he has revealed to you and that has made ready the way to heaven! Receive him with the hope by which you hope, for he himself has the intention of giving you the kingdom.

Love him with your whole heart and put your love into practice and you will enter through the gates of God from which those Christians were thrust away who did not want to enter them and who made themselves unworthy by their own deeds.' By my truth I declare to you that I will put my words into practice and will not forget them. I will receive you as my children and I will be your father, I, whom Christians have held in scornful scorn.
You then, my friends, who are in the world, go forth without fear and shout out loud, announce my will to them and help them to carry it out. I will be in your hearts and in your words. I will be your guide in life and your savior in death. I will not abandon you. Go forth boldly - the more the toil, the greater the glory!

I can do all things in a single instant and with a single word, but I want your reward to grow through your own efforts and my glory to grow through your bravery. Do not be surprised at what I say. If the wisest man in the world could count up how many souls fall into hell each day, they would outnumber the sands of the sea or the pebbles on the shore. This is a matter of justice, because these souls have separated themselves from their Lord and God. I am saying this so that the devil's numbers may decrease, and the danger become known, and my army be filled up. If only they would listen and come to their senses!”

Jesus Christ speaks to the bride and compares his divine nature to a crown and uses Peter and Paul to symbolize the clerical and the lay state, and about the ways of dealing with enemies, and about the qualities that knights in the world should have.

Book 2 - Chapter 7

The Son spoke to the bride, saying: ”I am King of the crown. Do you know why I said 'King of the crown'? Because my divine nature was and will be and is without beginning or end. My divine nature is aptly likened to a crown, because a crown has neither starting-point nor end. Just as a crown is reserved for the future king in a kingdom, so too my divine nature was reserved for my human nature to be its crown.
I had two servants. One was a priest, the other a layman. The first was Peter who had a priestly office, while Paul was, as it were, a layman. Peter was bound in marriage, but when he saw that his marriage was not consistent with his priestly office, and considering that his upright intention might be endangered by a lack of continence, he separated himself from the otherwise licit marriage, in which he divorced himself from his wife's bed, and he devoted himself to me wholeheartedly.

Paul, however, did observe celibacy and kept himself unstained by the marriage-bed. See what great love I had for these two! I gave the keys of heaven to Peter so that whatever he bound or loosed on earth might be bound or loosed in heaven. I allowed Paul to become like Peter in glory and honor. As they were equals together on earth, so now they are united in everlasting glory in heaven and glorified together. However, although I mentioned these two expressly by name, by and through them I mean to denote other friends of mine as well. In similar fashion, under the earlier Covenant, I used to speak to Israel as if I were addressing just one person, although I meant to designate the entire people of Israel by that one name. In the same way now, using these two men, I mean to denote the multitude of those whom I have filled with my glory and love.

With the passage of time, evils began to multiply and the flesh began to grow weaker and to be more than usually prone to evil. Therefore, I set up norms for each of the two, that is, for the clergy and laity, represented here by Peter and Paul. In my mercy I decided to allow the clergy to own a moderate amount of church property for their bodily needs in order that they might grow more fervent and constant in serving me. I also allowed the laity to join in marriage according to the rites of the church. Among the priests there was a certain good man who thought to himself: 'The flesh drags me toward base pleasure, the world drags me toward harmful sights, while the devil sets various traps to get me to sin. Therefore, in order not to be ensnared by carnal pleasure, I will observe moderation in all my actions. I will be moderate in my rest and recreation.

I will dedicate the proper time to work and prayer and restrain my carnal appetites through fasting. Second, in order that the world may not drag me away from the love of God, I will give up all worldly things, for they are all perishable. It is safer to follow Christ in poverty. Third, in order not to be deceived by the devil who is always showing us falsehoods instead of the truth, I will submit myself to the rule and obedience of another; and I will reject all selfishness and show that I am ready to undertake whatever is commanded me by the other person.' This man was the first to establish a monastic rule. He persevered in it in praiseworthy fashion and left his life as an example to be imitated by others.

For a time the class of the laity was well organized. Some of them tilled the soil and bravely persevered in working the land. Others sailed on ships and carried merchandise to other regions so that the resources of one region supplied the needs of another. Others were diligent craftsmen and artisans. Among these were the defenders of my church who are now called knights.
They took up arms as avengers of the Holy Church in order to do battle against her enemies. There appeared among them a good man and friend of mine who thought to himself: 'I do not till the soil as a farmer. I do not toil on the seas as a merchant. I do not work with my hands as a skilled craftsman.
What, then, can I do or with what works can I please my God? I am not energetic enough in the service of the church. My body is too soft and weak to bear physical injuries, my hands lack the force to strike down enemies, and my mind grows uneasy in pondering the things of heaven. What can I do then?

I know what I can do. I will go and bind myself by a stable oath to a secular prince, swearing to defend the faith of the Holy Church with my strength and with my blood.' That friend of mine went to the prince and said: 'My lord, I am one of the defenders of the church. My body is all too weak to bear physical injuries, my hands lack the force to strike down others; my mind is unstable when it comes to thinking about and carrying out what is good; my self-will is what pleases me; and my need for rest does not let me take a strong stance for the house of God. I bind myself therefore with a public oath of obedience to the Holy Church and to you, o Prince, swearing to defend her all the days of my life in order that, although my mind and will may be lukewarm with respect to the struggle, I can be held and compelled to toil because of my oath.' The prince answered him: 'I will go with you to the house of the Lord and be a witness to your oath and your promise.' Both of them came up to my altar, and my friend genuflected and said: 'I am too weak of body to bear physical injuries, my self-will is all too pleasing to me, my hands are too lukewarm when it comes to striking blows.

Therefore, I now pledge obedience to God and to you, my chief, binding myself by an oath to defend the Holy Church against her enemies, to comfort the friends of God, to do good to widows, orphans, and God's faithful, and never to do anything contrary to God's church or the faith. Moreover, I will submit myself to your correction, if I should happen to err, in order that, bound by obedience, I might fear sin and selfishness all the more and apply myself more fervently and readily to carrying out God's will and your own will, knowing myself to be only the more worthy of condemnation and contempt if I should presume to violate obedience and transgress your commands.' After this profession had been made at my altar, the prince wisely decided that the man should dress differently than other laymen as a sign of his self-renouncement and as a reminder to him that he had a superior to whom he had to submit.

The prince also placed a sword in his hand, saying: 'This sword is for you to use to threaten and slay the enemies of God.' He placed a shield on his arm, saying: 'Defend yourself with this shield against the missiles of the enemy and patiently endure whatever is thrown against it. May you sooner see it shattered than run away from battle!' In the presence of my priest who was listening, my friend made the firm promise to observe all of this. When he had made his promise, the priest gave him my body to provide him strength and fortitude so that, once united with me through my body, my friend might never be separated from me. Such was my friend George as well as many others. Such, too, should the knights be. They should get to hold their title as a result of merit and to wear their knightly attire as a result of their actions in defense of the Holy Faith.

Hear how my enemies are now going against the earlier deeds of my friends. My friends used to enter the monastery out of their wise reverence and love for God. But those who are in monasteries nowadays go out into the world because of pride and greed, following self-will, fulfilling the pleasure of their bodies. Justice demands that people who die in such a disposition should not experience the joy of heaven but rather obtain the endless punishment of hell. Know, too, that the cloistered monks who are forced against their will to become prelates out of love for God are not to be counted among their number. The knights who used to bear my arms were ready to lay down their lives for justice and shed their blood for the sake of the holy faith, bringing justice to the needy, putting down and humbling the doers of evil.

But hear how they have now been corrupted! Now they would rather die in battle for the sake of pride, greed, and envy at the promptings of the devil instead of living after my commandments and obtaining eternal joy. Just wages will therefore be dealt out at the judgment to all the people who die in such a disposition, and their souls will be yoked to the devil forever. But the knights who serve me will receive their due wages in the heavenly host forever. I, Jesus Christ, true God and man, one with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever, have said this.”

Christ's words to the bride about a certain knight's desertion from the true army, that is, from humility, obedience, patience, faith, etc., to the false one, that is, to the opposing vices, pride, etc., and the description of his condemnation, and about how one can meet with condemnation because of an evil will just as much as because of evil deeds.

Book 2 - Chapter 8

“I am the true Lord. There is no other lord greater than I. There was no lord before me nor will there be any after me. All lordship comes from me and through me. This is why I am the true Lord and why no one but I alone can truly be called Lord, for all power comes from me.
I was telling you earlier that I had two servants, one of whom manfully took up a praiseworthy way of life and kept at it manfully to the end. Countless others followed him in that same way of knightly service. I will now tell you about the first man to desert the profession of knighthood as instituted by my friend. I will not tell you his name, because you do not know him by name, but I will disclose his purpose and desire.

A man who wanted to become a knight came to my sanctuary. When he went in, he heard a voice: 'Three things are necessary if you want to be a knight: First, you must believe that the bread you see on the altar is true God and true man, the Creator of heaven and earth. Second, once you take up your knightly service, you must exercise more self-restraint than you were accustomed to doing before. Third, you should not care about worldly honor. Rather I will give you divine joy and everlasting honor.

Hearing this and pondering these three things to himself, he heard an evil voice in his mind making three proposals contrary to the first three. It said: 'If you serve me, I will make you three other proposals. I will let you take what you see, hear what you like, and obtain what you desire.' When he heard this, he thought to himself: 'The first lord bade me to have faith in something I do not see and promised me things unknown to me. He bade me abstain from the delights that I can see, and that I desire, and to hope for things of which I am uncertain. The other lord promised me the worldly honor that I can see and the pleasure that I desire without forbidding me to hear or see the things I like.

Surely, it is better for me to follow him and to have what I see and to enjoy the things that are sure rather than to hope for things of which I am uncertain.' With thoughts such as these, this man was the first to commence the desertion from the service of a true knight. He rejected the true profession and broke his promise. He threw down the shield of patience at my feet and let the sword for the defense of the faith drop from his hands and left the sanctuary. The evil voice told him: 'If, as I said, you would be mine, then you should walk proudly in the fields and streets. That other Lord commands his men to be constantly humble. Therefore, be sure not to avoid any sign of pride and ostentation! While that other Lord made his entrance in obedience and subjected himself to obedience in every way, you should let no one be your superior. Bend not your neck in humility to another. Take up your sword to shed the blood of your neighbor and brother in order to acquire his property!

Strap the shield to your arm and risk your life for the sake of winning renown! Instead of the faith that he holds out, give your love to the temple of your own body without abstaining from any of the pleasures that delight you.' While the man was making up his mind and strengthening his resolve with such thoughts, his prince laid his hand on the man's neck in the appointed place. No place whatsoever can harm anyone who has a good will or help anyone whose intention is wicked. After the confirmation of his knighthood, the wretch betrayed his knightly service, exercising it only with a view to worldly pride, making light of the fact that he was now under a greater obligation to live an austere life than before. Countless armies of knights imitated and still imitate this knight in his pride, and he has sunk all the deeper into the abyss due to his knightly vows.

But, given that there are many people who want to rise in the world and achieve renown but do not manage to do so, you might ask: Are these people to be punished for the wickedness of their intentions as much as those who achieve their desired success? To this I answer you: I assure you that anyone who fully intends to rise in the world and does all he can to do so in order to gain an empty title of worldly honor, although his intention never achieves its effect due to some secret decision of mine, such a man will be punished for the wickedness of his intention just as much as the one who does manage to achieve it, that is, unless he rectifies his intention through penance.

Look, I will put to you the example of two persons known well enough to many people. One of them prospered according to his wishes and obtained almost everything he desired. The other had the same intention, but not the same possibilities. The first one obtained worldly renown; he loved the temple of his body in its every lust; he had the power he wanted; everything he put his hand to prospered. The other was identical to him in intention but received less renown. He would willingly have shed his neighbor's blood a hundred times over in order to be able to realize his plans of greed.

He did what he could and carried out his will in accordance with his desire. These two were alike in their horrible punishment. Although they did not die at exactly the same time, I can still speak of one soul rather than two, since their condemnation was one and the same. Both had the same thing to say when body and soul were separated and the soul departed. Once having left the body, the soul said to it: 'Tell me, where now are the sights to delight my eyes that you promised me, where is the pleasure you showed me, where are the pleasant words that you bade me use?' The devil was there and answered:

'The promised sights are no more than dust, the words are but air, the pleasure is but mud and rot. Those things are of no value to you now.' The soul exclaimed then: 'Alas, alas, I have been wretchedly deceived! I see three things.

I see him who was promised to me under the semblance of bread. He is the very King of kings and Lord of lords. I see what he promised, and it is indescribable and inconceivable. I hear now that the abstinence he recommended was really most useful.' Then, in an even louder voice, the soul cried out 'woe' three times: 'Woe is me that ever I was born! Woe is me that my life on the earth was so long! Woe is me that I shall live in a perpetual and neverending death!'

Behold what wretchedness the wretched will have in return for their contempt of God and their fleeting joy! You should therefore thank me, my bride, for having called you away from such wretchedness! Be obedient to my Spirit and to my chosen ones!”

Christ's words to the bride giving an explanation of the immediately preceding chapter, and about the devil's attack on the aforementioned knight, and about his terrible and just condemnation.

Book 2 - Chapter 9

“The entire span of this life is but as a single hour for me. Therefore, what I am telling you now has always been in my foreknowledge. I told you before about a man who began the true knighthood, and about another who deserted it like a scoundrel. The man who deserted from the ranks of true knights threw down his shield at my feet and his sword at my side by breaking his sacred promises and vows. The shield he threw down symbolizes nothing other than the upright faith by which he was to defend himself against the enemies of the faith and of his soul.

The feet, on which I walk toward humanity, symbolize nothing other than the divine delight by which I attract a person to myself and the patience by which I patiently bear with him. He threw this shield down when he entered my sanctuary, thinking to himself: I want to obey the lord who counseled me not to practice abstinence, the one who gives me what I desire and lets me hear things pleasant to my ears. This was how he threw down the shield of my faith by wanting to follow his own selfish desire rather than me, by loving the creature more than the Creator.

If he had had an upright faith, if he had believed me to be almighty and a just judge and the giver of eternal glory, he would not have wished for anything but me, he would not have feared anything but me. But he threw down my faith at my feet, despising it and counting it for nothing, because he did not seek to please me and had no regard for my patience. Then he threw down his sword at my side. The sword denotes nothing other than the fear of God, which God's true knight should continuously have in his hands, that is, in his acts. My side symbolizes nothing other than the care and protection with which I shelter and defend my children, like a mother hen sheltering her chicks, so that the devil does not harm them and no unendurable trials come upon them.

But that man threw away the sword of my fear by not bothering to think about my power and by not having any regard for my love and patience.
He threw it down at my side as if to say: 'I neither fear nor care about your defense. I got what I have by my own doing and my noble birth.' He broke the promise he made to me. What is the true promise that a man is bound to vow to God? Surely, it is deeds of love: that whatever a person does, he should do out of love for God. But this he set aside by twisting his love for God toward self-love; he preferred his selfishness to future and eternal delight.

In this way he separated himself from me and left the sanctuary of my humility. The body of any Christian ruled by humility is my sanctuary. Those ruled by pride are not my sanctuary but the sanctuary of the devil who steers them toward worldly desire after his own purposes. Having gone out of the temple of my humility, and having rejected the shield of holy faith and the sword of fear, he walked out proudly to the fields, cultivating every selfish lust and desire, scorning to fear me and growing in sin and lust.

When he reached the final end of his life and his soul had left the body, the demons charged out to meet him. Three voices from hell could be heard speaking against him. The first said: 'Is not this the man who deserted from humility and followed us in pride? If his two feet could take him up even higher in pride so as to surpass us and hold the primacy in pride, he would be quick to do so.' The soul answered him: 'I am the one.' Justice answered him: 'This is the reward of your pride: you will descend handed by one demon down to the next until you reach the lowest part of hell. And given that there was no demon who did not know his own particular punishment and the torment to be inflicted for every useless thought and deed, neither will you escape punishment at the hands of any one of them but share in the malice and evil of them all.' The second voice cried out saying: 'Is not this the man who separated himself from his professed service to God and joined our ranks instead?'

The soul answered: 'I am the one.' And Justice said: 'This is your allotted reward: that everyone who imitates your conduct as a knight will add to your punishment and sorrow by his own corruption and pain and will strike you at his coming as though with a deadly wound. You will be like a man afflicted by a severe wound, indeed like one afflicted by wound upon wound until his whole body is full of wounds, who endures intolerable suffering and bewails his fate constantly. Even so, you will experience misery upon misery. At the height of your pain, your pain will be renewed, and your punishment will never end and your woes will never decrease.' The third voice cried out: 'Is not this the man who exchanged his Creator for creatures, the love of his Creator for his own selfishness?' Justice answered: 'It certainly is.

Therefore, two holes will be opened in him. Through the first the re will enter into him every punishment earned for his least sin up to his greatest, inasmuch as he exchanged his Creator for his own lust. Through the second there will enter into him every kind of pain and shame, and no divine consolation or charity will ever come to him, inasmuch as he loved himself rather than his Creator. His life will last forever and his punishment will last forever, for all the saints have turned away from him.' My bride, see how miserable those people will be who despise me and how great will be the pain they purchase at the price of so little pleasure!”

As God spoke to Moses from the burning bush, Christ speaks to the bride about how the devil is symbolized by Pharaoh, present-day knights by the people of Israel, and the Virgin's body by the bush, and about how present-day knights and bishops are, at present, preparing a home for the devil.

Book 2 - Chapter 10

“It is written in the law of Moses that Moses was watching over the flocks in the desert when he saw a bush that was on fire without being burned up, and he became afraid and covered his face. A voice spoke to him from the bush: 'I have heard of my people's suffering and feel pity for them, for they are oppressed in harsh slavery.' I who am now speaking with you am that voice heard from the bush. I have heard the misery of my people. Who were my people if not Israel? Using this same name I now designate the knights in the world who have taken the vows of my knighthood and who should be mine but are being attacked by the devil.

What did Pharaoh do to my people Israel in Egypt? Three things. First, when they were building his walls, they were not to be helped by those gatherers of straw who earlier had helped them in making bricks. Instead, they had to go themselves and gather the straw wherever they could throughout the entire country. Second, the builders did not get any thanks for their labor, despite their producing the number of bricks set them as a goal. Third, the foremen beat them harshly whenever they fell short of their normal production. In the midst of their great affliction, this people of mine built two cities for pharaoh.

This pharaoh is none another than the devil who attacks my people, that is, the knights, who ought be my people. Truly I tell you that if the knights had kept the arrangement and rule established by my first friend, they would have been among my dearest friends. Just as Abraham, who was the first to be given the commandment of circumcision and was obedient to me, became my dearest friend, and anyone who imitated Abraham's faith and works shared in his love and glory, so too the knights were especially pleasing to me among all the orders, since they promised to shed for me that which they held most dear, their own blood. By this vow they made themselves most pleasing to me, just as Abraham did in the matter of circumcision, and they purified themselves daily by living up to their profession and by taking up the practice of holy charity.

These knights are now so oppressed by their wretched slavery under the devil that the devil is wounding them with a lethal wound and throwing them into pain and suffering. The bishops of the church are building two cities for him just like the children of Israel. The first city stands for physical toil and meaningless anxiety over the acquisition of worldly goods. The second city stands for spiritual unrest and distress, inasmuch as they are never allowed to rest from worldly desire. There is toil on the outside and restlessness and anxiety on the inside, rendering spiritual things a burden.
Just as Pharaoh did not supply my people with the things necessary for making bricks or give them fields full of grain, or wine and other useful things, but the people had to go and find them for themselves in sorrow and tribulation of heart, so the devil deals likewise with them now. Although they toil for and covet the world with their inmost heart, they are still unable to fulfill their desire and sate the thirst of their greed. They are consumed on the inside with sorrow and on the outside with toil. For that reason, I pity them their sufferings, because my knights, my people, are building homes for the devil and toiling ceaselessly, because they cannot get what they desire, and because they worry themselves over meaningless goods, although the fruit of their anxiety is not a blessing but rather the reward of shame.

When Moses was sent to the people, God gave him a miraculous sign for three reasons. First, it was because each person in Egypt worshipped his own individual god, and because there were innumerable beings who were said to be gods. Therefore it was fitting that there should be a miraculous sign so that, through it and by the power of God, people would believe that there was one God and one Creator of all things because of the signs, and so that all the idols would be proved worthless. Second, a sign was also given to Moses as a symbol prefiguring my future body. What did the burning bush that was not consumed symbolize if not the Virgin who conceived by the Holy Spirit and gave birth without corruption? From this bush I came forth, assuming a human nature from the virginal body of Mary. Similarly, the serpent given as a sign to Moses symbolized my body. In the third place, a sign was given to Moses in order to confirm the truth of coming events and to prefigure the miraculous signs to be done in the future, proving the truth of God to be so much the truer and more certain the more clearly those things signified by the signs were in time fulfilled.

I am now sending my words to the children of Israel, that is, to the knights. They need no miraculous signs for three reasons. This is, first of all, because the one God and Creator of all things is already worshipped and known through Holy Scripture as well as through many signs. Second, they are not now waiting for me to be born, because they know that I was truly born and became incarnate without corruption, inasmuch as scripture has been completely fulfilled. And there is no better or more certain faith to be held and believed than the one that has already been preached by me and by my holy preachers. Nevertheless, I have done three things through you by which it may be believed. First, these are my true words and do not differ from the true faith.

Second, a demon went out of a possessed man at my word. Third, I gave a certain man the power to unite mistrustful hearts in mutual charity. Therefore, do not have any doubts about those who will believe in me. Those who believe in me believe also in my words. Those who savor me savor also my words. It is written that Moses covered his face after speaking with God.
You, however, do not need to cover your face. I opened your spiritual eyes so that you might see spiritual things. I opened your ears so that you might hear the things that are of the Spirit. I will show you a likeness of my body as it was during and before my passion, and such as it was after the resurrection, as Magdalene and Peter and others saw it. You will also hear my voice as it spoke to Moses from within the bush. This same voice is now speaking within your soul.”

Christ's delightful words to the bride about the glory and honor of the good and true knight, and about how the angels come out to meet him, and about how the glorious Trinity welcomes him affectionately and takes him to a place of indescribable rest as a reward for but a little struggle.

Book 2 - Chapter 11

“I told you before about the end and punishment of that knight who was the first to desert from the knightly service he had promised me. I will now describe for you by way of metaphors (for otherwise you are unable to understand spiritual things) the glory and honor of him who first manfully took up the true knightly service and manfully kept at it to the end. When this friend of mine came to the end of his life and his soul left his body, five legions of angels were sent to greet him. Along with them there also came a multitude of demons in order to find out if they could lay any claim to him, for they are full of malice and never rest from malice.

A bright clear voice was then heard in heaven, saying: 'My Lord and Father, is not this the man who bound himself to your will and carried it out to perfection?' The man himself then answered in his own conscience: 'Indeed I am.' Three voices were then heard. The first was that of the divine nature, which said: 'Did I not create you and give you a body and soul? You are my son and you have done your Father's will. Come to me, your almighty Creator and dear Father! An eternal inheritance is owed to you, for you are a son. Your Father's inheritance is owed to you, for you have been obedient to him.

So, dear son, come to me then! I will welcome you with joy and honor.' The second voice was that of the human nature, which said: 'Brother, come to your brother! I offered myself for you in battle and shed my blood for you. You, who obeyed my will, come to me! You, who paid blood for blood and were prepared to offer death for death and life for life, come to me! You, who imitated me in your life, enter now into my life and into my neverending joy! I recognize you as my true brother.' The third voice was that of the Spirit (but the three are one God, not three gods) that said: 'Come, my knight, you whose interior life was so attractive that I longed to dwell with you!

In your exterior conduct you were so manly that you deserved my protection. Enter, then, into rest in return for all your physical troubles! In return for your mental suffering, enter into a consolation beyond description! In return for your charity and your manly struggles, come into me and I will dwell in you and you in me! Come to me, then, my excellent knight, who never yearned for anything but me! Come and you will be filled with holy pleasure!' Afterward five voices were heard from each of the five legions of angels.

The first one spoke, saying: 'Let us march ahead of this excellent knight and carry his weapons ahead of him, that is, let us present to our God the faith he preserved unshaken and defended from the enemies of justice.' The second voice said: 'Let us carry his shield ahead of him, that is, let us show our God that patience of his which, although it is already known to God, will be even more glorious because of our testimony. By his patience he not only bore adversities patiently but also thanked God for those same adversities.'

The third voice said: 'Let us march ahead of him and present his sword to God, that is, let us show him the obedience by which he remained obedient in both difficult and easy times in accordance with his pledge.' The fourth voice said: 'Come and let us show our God his horse, that is, let us offer the testimony of his humility. As a horse carries the body of a man, so his humility both preceded and followed him, carrying him forth to the performance of every good work. Pride found nothing of its own in him, which is why he rode in safety.' The fifth voice said: 'Come and let us present his helmet to our God, that is, let us bear witness to the divine yearning he felt for God!

He meditated on him in his heart at all times. He had him on his lips, in his works, and yearned for him above all things. Out of his love and veneration he caused himself to die to the world. So, let us present these things to our God, for, in return for a little struggle, this man has deserved eternal rest and joy with his God for whom he yearned so much and so often!' Accompanied by the sounds of these voices and a wonderful choir of angels, my friend was carried to eternal rest.

His soul saw it all and said to itself in exultation: 'Happy am I to have been created! Happy am I to have served my God whom I now behold! Happy am I, for I have joy and glory that will never end!' In such a way did my friend come to me and receive such a reward. Although not everyone sheds his blood for the sake of my name, nevertheless, everyone will receive the same reward, provided they have the intention of giving their lives for me if the occasion presents itself and the needs of the faith demand it. See how important a good intention is!”

Christ's words to the bride about the unchanging nature and eternal duration of his justice, and about how, after taking a human nature, he revealed his justice through his love in a new light, and about how he tenderly exercises mercy toward the damned and gently teaches his knights mercy.

Book 2 - Chapter 12

“I am the true King. No one deserves to be called king except me, because all honor and power come from me. I am he who rendered judgment upon the first angel to fall through pride, greed, and envy. I am he who rendered judgment upon Adam and Cain as well as upon the whole world by sending it the flood due to the sins of the human race. I am the same one who allowed the people of Israel to come into captivity and miraculously led it out with miraculous signs. All justice is to be found in me. Justice always was and is in me without beginning or end. It does not at any time grow less in me but remains in me true and unchangeable. Although at the present time my justice seems to be somewhat gentler and God seems to be a more patient judge now, this represents no change in my justice, which never changes, but only shows my love the more. I now judge the world by that same justice and that same true judgment as when I permitted my people to become slaves in Egypt and made them suffer in the desert.

My love was hidden prior to my incarnation. I kept it hidden in my justice like light obscured by a cloud. Once I had taken a human nature, although the law that had been given was changed, justice itself was not changed but was all the more clearly visible and was shown in a more abundant light in love through God's Son. This happened in three ways. First, the law was mitigated, since it had been severe because of disobedient and hardened sinners and it was difficult in order to tame the proud. Second, the Son of God suffered and died. Third, my judgment now appears to be farther away and both seems to be postponed out of mercy and to be gentler toward sinners than before. Indeed, the acts of justice concerning the first parents or the flood or those who died in the desert seem rigid and strict. But that same justice is still with me and ever has been. However, mercy and love are now more apparent. Earlier, for wise reasons, love was hidden in justice and displayed with mercy, albeit in a more hidden manner, because I never carried out and never do carry out justice without mercy or kindness without justice. Now, however, you might ask: if I show mercy in all my justice, in what way am I merciful toward the damned? I will answer you by way of a parable.

It is as if a judge were seated in judgment and his brother came along to be sentenced. The judge says to him: 'You are my brother and I am your judge and, although I sincerely love you, I cannot nor is it right for me to counteract justice. In your conscience you see what is just with respect to what you deserve. It is necessary to sentence you accordingly. If it were possible to go against justice, I would willingly take your sentence upon myself.' I am like that judge. This person is my brother because of my human nature. When he comes to be judged by me, his conscience informs him of his guilt and he understands what his sentence should be. Since I am just, I reply to the soul - figuratively speaking - and tell it: 'You see all that is just for you in your conscience. Tell me what you deserve.' The soul answers me then: 'My conscience informs me of my sentence. It is the punishment due to me, because I did not obey you.' I answer: 'I, your judge, took on myself all your punishment and made your danger known to you as well as the way to escape punishment. It was simple justice that you could not enter heaven before atoning for your guilt. I took on your atonement, because you were incapable of bearing it your self.

Through the prophets I showed you what would happen to me, and I did not omit a single detail of what the prophets foretold. I showed you all the love I could in order to make you turn to me. However, since you have turned away from me, you deserve to be sentenced, because you scorned mercy. However, I am still so merciful that, if it were possible for me to die again, for your sake I would again endure the same torment I once endured on the cross rather than see you sentenced to such a sentence. Justice, however, says that it is impossible for me to die again, even if mercy tells me to want to die for your sake again, if it were possible. This is how I am merciful and loving even toward the damned. I loved mankind from the start, even when I seemed to be angry, but nobody cared about or paid any attention to my love.

Because I am just and merciful, I warn the so-called knights that they should seek my mercy, lest my justice find them. My justice is as immovable as a mountain, it burns like fire, it is as frightening as thunder, and as sudden as a bow fitted with an arrow. My warning is threefold. First, I warn them as a father does his children, in order to make them turn back to me, because I am their Father and Creator. Let them return, and I will give them the patrimony due to them by right. Let them return, because, although I have been spurned, I will still welcome them with joy and go out to meet them with love. Second, I ask them like a brother to recall my wounds and my deeds. Let them return, and I will receive them like a brother. Third, as their Lord I ask them to return to the Lord to whom they pledged their faith, to whom they owe their allegiance and to whom they have sworn themselves by oath.
Wherefore, o knights, turn back to me, your father, who brought you up with love. Think on me, your brother, who became as one of you for your sakes. Turn back to me, your kind Lord. It is highly dishonest to pledge your faith and allegiance to another lord. You pledged me that you would defend my church and help the needy. See now how you pledge allegiance to my enemy, and throw away my banner and hoist the banner of my enemy!

Wherefore, O knights, come back to me in true humility, since you deserted me through pride. If anything seems hard to suffer for me, consider what I did for you! For your sakes, I went to the cross with my feet bleeding; my hands and feet were pierced for you; I spared not a single limb of mine for you. And yet you ignore all this by running away from me. Come back, and I will give you three kinds of help. First, fortitude, so as to be able to withstand your physical and spiritual enemies. Second, a brave generosity, so that you may fear nothing but me and may deem it a joy to exert yourselves for my sake. Third, I shall give you wisdom to make you understand the true faith and the will of God. Therefore, come back and take your stand like men! For I, who am giving you this warning, am the same one whom the angels serve, the one who freed those forefathers of yours who were obedient but sentenced the disobedient and humbled the proud. I was first in war, first in suffering. Follow me, then, so that you will not be melted like wax by fire. Why are you breaking your promise? Why do you scorn your oath? Am I of less value or more unworthy than some worldly friend of yours to whom, once you pledge your faith, you keep it? To me, however, the giver of life and honor, the preserver of health, you do not render what you have promised.

For this reason, good knights, fulfill your promise and, if you are too weak to do so in deeds, at least have the will to do so! I feel pity due to the slavery the devil has imposed on you and so I will accept your intention as a deed. If you come back to me in love, then exert yourselves in the faith of my church, and I will come out to meet you like a kind father together with all my army. I will give you five good things as a reward. First, neverending praise will always sound in your ears. Second, the face and glory of God will always be before your eyes. Third, the praise of God will never leave your lips. Fourth, you will have everything your soul can desire, and you will desire nothing more than you have. Fifth, you will never be separated from your God, but your joy will endure without end and you will live your life in joy without end.

Such will be your reward, my knights, if you defend my faith and exert yourselves more for the sake of my honor than for your own. If you have any sense, remember that I have been patient with you and that you have insulted me in a way you yourselves would never tolerate. However, although I can do all things by reason of my omnipotence, and although my justice cries out to be revenged upon you, still my mercy, which is in my wisdom and goodness, spares you. Therefore, ask for mercy! In my love I grant that which a person asks me for in humility.”

Christ's strong words to the bride against present-day knights, and about the proper way of creating knights, and about how God gives and bestows strength and help to them in their actions.

Book 2 - Chapter 13

“I am one God together with the Father and the Holy Spirit in a trinity of persons. None of the three can be separated or divided from the others, but the Father is in both the Son and the Spirit, and the Son is in both the Father and the Spirit, and the Spirit is in both. The Divinity sent its Word to the Virgin Mary through the angel Gabriel. Yet the same God, both sending and being sent by himself, was with the angel, and he was in Gabriel, and he was in the Virgin prior to Gabriel. After the angel had delivered his message, the word was made flesh in the Virgin. I, who speak with you, am that Word.

The Father sent me through himself together with the Holy Spirit into the womb of the Virgin, although not in such away that the angels would be left without the vision and presence of God. Rather, I, the Son, who was with the Father and the Holy Spirit in the virginal womb, remained the same God in the sight of the angels in heaven together with the Father and the Spirit, ruling and sustaining all things. However, the human nature assumed by the only Son lay in the womb of Mary. I, who am one God in my divine and human natures, do not disdain to speak with you and thus manifest my love and strengthen the holy faith.

Although my human form seems to be here before you and to be speaking with you, nonetheless it is truer to say that your soul and your conscience are with me and in me. Nothing in heaven or on earth is impossible or difficult for me. I am like a powerful king who comes to a city with his troops and takes up the whole place, occupying all of it. In like manner, my grace fills all of your limbs and strengthens them all. I am within you and with out you. Although I may be speaking with you, I remain the same in my glory. What could possibly be difficult for me who sustains all things with my power and arranges all things in my wisdom, surpassing everything in excellence? I, who am one God together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, without beginning or end, who assumed a human nature for the sake of the salvation of humankind, the divine nature remaining intact, who suffered, rose again, and ascended into heaven, I am now truly speaking with you.

I told you earlier about the knights who were once most pleasing to me because they were bound to me by the bond of charity. They bound themselves by their oath to offer up their body for my body, their blood for my blood. This is why I gave them my consent, why I joined them to myself in a single bond and a single company. Now, however, my grievance is that these knights, who ought to be mine, have turned away from me. I am their Creator and redeemer as well as their helper. I made a body with all its limbs for them. I made everything in the world for their use. I redeemed them with my blood. I bought an eternal inheritance for them with my passion. I protect them in every danger.

Now, however, they have turned away from me. They hold my passion for naught, they neglect my words that should delight and nourish their soul. They despise me, preferring with all their heart and soul to offer up their body and let it be wounded in return for human praise, to shed their blood for the sake of satisfying their greed, happy to die on account of worldly, devilish, empty speech. But still, although they have turned away, my mercy and justice is upon them. I mercifully watch over them so that they may not be handed over to the devil. In justice I bear with them patiently and, if they would turn back again, I would welcome them joyfully and gladly run out to meet them.

Tell that man who wants to put his knighthood at my service that he can please me once again through the following ceremony. Anyone who wants to be made a knight should proceed with his horse and armor to the churchyard and leave his horse there, since it was not made for human pride but in order to be useful in life and in defense and in fighting the enemies of God. Then let him put on his cloak, placing its clasp to his forehead, similar to what a deacon does when he puts on his stole as a sign of obedience and holy patience. In like manner, he should put on his cloak and place the clasp to his forehead as a sign both of his military vows and of the obedience undertaken for the defense of Christ's cross.

A banner of the secular government should be carried before him, reminding him that he should obey his worldly government in all the things that are not against God. Once he has entered the churchyard, the priests should go out to meet him with the banner of the church. On it the passion and wounds of Christ should be depicted as a sign that he is obliged to defend the church of God and comply with her prelates. When he enters the church, the banner of the temporal government should remain outside the church while the banner of God should go before him into the church as a sign that divine authority precedes secular authority and that one should care more about spiritual things than temporal things.

When Mass has been said up to the Agnus Dei, the presiding officer, that is, the king or someone else, should go up to the knight at the altar and say: 'Do you want to be made a knight?' When the candidate answers, I do,' the other should add the words: 'Promise to God and to me that you will defend the faith of the Holy Church and obey its leaders in all the things pertaining to God!'

When the candidate answers 'I do,' the other should place a sword in his hands, saying: 'Behold, I place a sword in your hands so that you may not spare even your own life for the sake of God's church, so that you may crush the enemies of God and protect the friends of God.' Then he should give him the shield and say: 'Behold, I give you a shield so that you may defend yourself against the enemies of God, so that you may offer assistance to widows and orphans, so that you may add to the glory of God in every way.' Then he should place his hand on the other's neck, saying: 'Behold, you are now subject to obedience and to authority. Know, then, that you must carry out in practice what you have bound yourself to by your pledges!' After this, the cloak and its clasps should be fitted on him in order to remind him daily both of his vows to God and that, by his profession before the church, he has bound himself to do more than others to defend the church of God.

Once these things are done and the Agnus Dei has been said, the priest celebrating the Mass should give him my body in order that he may defend the faith of the Holy Church. I will be in him and he in me. I will furnish him with help and strength, and I will make him burn with the fire of my love so as to desire nothing but me and to fear nothing but me, his God. If he should happen to be on a campaign when he undertakes this service for my glory and the defense of my faith, it will still benefit him, provided his intention is upright.

I am everywhere by virtue of my power, and all people can please me by an upright intention and a good will. I am love, and no one can come to me but a person who has love. Therefore I do not order anyone to do this, since in that case they would be serving me out of fear. But those who want to undertake this form of knightly service can be pleasing to me. It would be fitting for them to show through humility that they want to return to the true exercise of knighthood, inasmuch as desertion from the profession of true knighthood occurs through pride.”


This knight was believed to have been Sir Karl, the son of St. Birgitta.

About Christ as symbolized by a goldsmith and the words of God as gold, and about how these words should be transmitted to people with the love of God, an upright conscience, and their five senses under control, and about how the preachers of God should be diligent rather than lazy in selling the gold, that is, in transmitting the word of God.

Book 2 - Chapter 14

“I am like a skilled goldsmith who sends his servant to sell his gold throughout the land, telling him: 'You must do three things. First of all, you must not entrust my gold to anyone except those who have calm and clear eyes. Second, do not entrust it to people who have no conscience. Third, put my gold on sale for ten talents weighed twice over! A person who refuses to weigh my gold twice will not get it. You must beware of three weapons my enemy uses against you. First of all, he wants to make you slow to put my gold on display. Second, he wishes to mix inferior metal into my gold so that those who see and test it think my gold is just rotten clay.

Third, he instructs his friends to contradict you and to claim constantly that my gold is no good.' I am like that goldsmith. I forged everything in heaven and on earth, not with hammers and tools but by my power and strength. All that is and was and will be is foreknown to me. Not the least little worm or the smallest grain can exist or continue in existence without me. Not the least little thing escapes my foreknowledge, since everything comes from me and is foreknown to me. Among all the things I have made, however, the words I have spoken with my own lips are of the greatest value, just as gold is more valuable than other metals.

This is why my servants, whom I dispatch with my gold throughout the world, must do three things. First of all, they are not to entrust my gold to people who do not have calm and clear eyes. You may ask: 'What does it mean to have clear eyesight?' Well, a clear-sighted person is one who has divine wisdom along with divine charity. But how are you to know this? It is obvious. That person is clear-sighted and can be entrusted with my gold who lives according to reason, who removes himself from worldly vanity and curiosity, who seeks nothing so much as his God. But that person is blind who has knowledge but does not put the divine charity he understands into practice. He seems to have his eyes on God but he does not, for his eyes are on the world and he has turned his back to God.

Second, my gold is not to be entrusted to someone with no conscience. Who has a conscience if not the person who manages his temporal, perishable goods with a view to eternity, who has his soul in heaven and his body on earth, who ponders daily how he is going to depart from earth and answer to God for his deeds? My gold should be entrusted to such a person. Third, he should put my gold on sale for ten talents weighed two times over. What do the scales with which the gold is weighed symbolize if not conscience? What do the hands that weigh the gold symbolize if not a good will and desire? What are the counterweights to be used if not spiritual and corporal works?

A person who wants to buy and keep my gold, that is, my words, should examine himself uprightly on the scales of his conscience and consider how he is to pay for it with ten talents carefully weighed out in accordance with my wishes. The first talent is the person's disciplined eyesight. This makes him consider the difference between corporal and spiritual vision, what use there is in physical beauty and appearance, how much excellence there is in the beauty and glory of the angels and of the heavenly powers that surpass all the stars of the sky in splendor, and what joyful delight a soul possesses in God's commandments and in his glory.

This talent, I mean, physical vision and spiritual vision, which is found in God's commandments and in chastity, are not to be measured on the same scale. Spiritual vision counts for more than the corporal kind and weighs more, inasmuch as a person's eyes must be open to what is beneficial for the soul and necessary for the body, but closed to foolishness and indecency.
The second talent is good hearing. A person should consider the worth of indecent, silly, and derisive language. Surely, it is worth nothing more than an empty puff of air. This is why a person should hear God's praises and hymns. He should listen to the deeds and sayings of my saints. He should hear what he needs in order to foster his soul and body in virtue. This kind of hearing weighs more on the scales than the hearing of indecency. This good kind of hearing, when it is weighed on the scales against the other kind, will sink the scales all the way down, while the other, empty kind of hearing will get lifted up and weigh nothing at all.

The third talent is that of the tongue. A person should weigh the excellence and usefulness of edifying and measured speech on the scales of his conscience. He should also take note of the harmfulness and uselessness of vain and idle speech. He should then put away vain speech and love the good kind.
The fourth talent is taste. What is the taste of the world if not misery? Toil at the start of an enterprise, sorrow as it continues, bitterness at the end.
Accordingly, a person should carefully weigh spiritual taste against the worldly kind, and the spiritual will outweigh worldly taste. The spiritual taste is never lost, never becomes wearisome, never diminishes. This kind of taste begins in the present through the restraint of lust and through a life of moderation and lasts forever in heaven through the enjoyment and sweet delight of God.

The fifth talent is that of the sense of touch. A person should weigh how much care and misery he feels because of the body, all the worldly cares, all the many problems with his neighbor. Then he experiences misery everywhere. Let him also weigh how great the peace of soul and of a well-disciplined mind is, how much good there is in not being worried about vain and superfluous possessions. Then he will experience consolation everywhere. Whoever wants to measure it well should put the spiritual and physical senses of touch on the scales, and the result will be that the spiritual outweighs the corporal. This spiritual sense of touch begins and develops through the patient endurance of setbacks and through perseverance in the commandments of God, and it lasts forever in joy and peaceful rest. A person who gives more weight to physical rest and to worldly feelings and joy than to those of eternity is not worthy to touch my gold or to enjoy my happiness.

The sixth talent is human work. A person should carefully weigh in his conscience both spiritual and material work. The former leads to heaven, the latter to the world; the former to an eternal life without suffering, the latter to tremendous pain and suffering. Whoever desires my gold should give more weight to spiritual work, which is done in my love and for my glory, than to material work, since spiritual things endure, while material things will pass away.
The seventh talent is the orderly use of time. A person is given certain times to devote to spiritual things alone, other times for bodily functions, without which life is impossible (if these are used reasonably, they are counted as a spiritual use of time), and other times for physically useful activity. Since a person must render an account of his time as well as of his deeds, he should therefore give priority to the spiritual use of time before turning to material labor, and manage his time in such away that spiritual things are given more priority than temporal things so that no time is allowed to pass without the examination and right balance required by justice.

The eighth talent is the just administration of the temporal goods given to one, meaning that a rich person, as far as his means allow, should give to the poor with divine charity. But you might ask: 'What should a poor person who owns nothing give?' He should have the right intention and think the following thoughts: 'If I had anything, I would gladly give it generously.' Such an intention is counted for him as a deed. If the poor man's intention is such that he would like to have temporal possessions like others but only intends to give a small sum and mere trifles to the poor, this intention is reckoned for him as a small deed. Therefore a rich person with possessions should practice charity. A needy person should have the intention of giving, and it will gain him merit. Whoever gives more weight to the temporal than to the spiritual, whoever gives me one shilling and the world a hundred and himself a thousand does not use a fair measuring standard. A person who uses a measuring standard like that does not deserve to have my gold. I, the giver of all things, who can also take all things away, deserve the worthier share.

Temporal goods were created for human use and necessity, not for superfluity. The ninth talent is the careful examination of times gone and past. A person should examine his deeds, what sort of deeds they were, their number, how he has corrected them and with what merit. He should also consider whether his good works were fewer than his bad. If he should find his bad works to be more numerous than his good, then he should have a perfect purpose of amendment and be truly contrite for his misdeeds. This intention, if it be true and firm, will weigh more in God's sight than all his sins.

The tenth talent is the consideration of and planning for future time. If a person has the intention of not wanting to love anything but the things of God, of not desiring anything but what he knows to be pleasing to God, of willingly and patiently embracing difficulties, even the pains of hell, were that to give God any consolation and were it to be God's will, then this talent excels all the rest. Through this talent all dangers are easily avoided. Whoever pays these ten talents will get my gold.

However, as I said, the enemy wants to impede the people delivering my gold in three ways. First he wants to make them slow and lazy. There is both a physical and a spiritual laziness. The physical kind is when the body tires of working, getting up, and so forth. Spiritual laziness is when a spiritually minded person, knowing the sweet delight and grace of my Spirit, prefers to rest in that delight rather than to go out and help others to partake of it with him. Did not Peter and Paul experience the overflowingly sweet delight of my Spirit? If it had been my will, they would rather have lain hidden in the lowest part of the earth with the interior delight they had than to go out into the world.

However, in order that others might be made participants in their sweet delight and in order to instruct others along with themselves, they preferred to go out for other people's sake as well as for their own greater glory and not to remain by themselves without strengthening others with the grace given them. In like manner my friends, although they would like to be alone and to enjoy that sweet delight they have already, should now go forth so that others might also become participants in their joy. Just as someone with abundant possessions does not use them for himself alone but entrusts them to others, so too my words and my grace should not be kept hidden but should be broadcast to others so that they, too, may be edified.

My friends can give aid to three kinds of people. First, to the damned; second, to sinners, that is, to those who fall into sins and get up again; third, to the good who stand firm. But you may ask: 'How can a person give aid to the damned, seeing that they are unworthy of grace and it is impossible for them to return to grace?' Let me answer you by way of a simile. It is as though there were countless holes at the bottom of a certain precipice and anyone falling into them would necessarily sink to the depths. However, if someone were to block up one of the holes, the person falling would not sink down as deeply as if no hole had been blocked up. This is what happens to the damned. Although by reason of my justice and their own hardened malice they have to be condemned at a definite and foreknown time, still their punishment will be lighter if they are held back by others from doing certain evils and instead urged to do something good. That is how I am merciful even toward the damned. Although mercy pleads for leniency, justice and their own wickedness countermand it.

In the second place, they can give aid to those who fall down but get back up again by teaching them how to get up, by making them take care not to fall, and by instructing them how to improve and to resist their passions.
In the third place, they can be of benefit to the righteous and perfect. Do not they themselves fall as well? Of course they do, but it is for their greater glory and the devil's shame. Just as a soldier lightly wounded in battle gets all the more stirred up because of his wound and becomes that much keener for battle, so too the diabolical temptation of adversity stirs up my chosen ones all the more for the spiritual struggle and for humility, and they make all the more fervent progress toward winning the crown of glory. Therefore my words should not be kept hidden from my friends, for, having heard of my grace, they will get all the more stirred up as to devotion toward me.

My enemy's second method is to use deception in order to make my gold look like clay. For this reason, when any of my words are being transcribed, the transcriber should bring two trusty witnesses or one man of proven conscience to certifY that he has examined the document. Only then may it be transmitted to whomever he wants, in order not to come uncertified into the hands of enemies who could add something false, which could lead to the words of truth being denigrated among simple folk.

My enemy's third method is to make his own friends preach resistance to my gold. My friends should then say to those who contradict them: 'The gold of these words contains, as it were, only three teachings. They teach you to fear rightly, to love piously, to desire heaven intelligently. Test the words and see for yourselves, and, if you find anything else there, contradict it!' ”

Christ's words to the bride about how the way to paradise was opened by his coming, and about the ardent love he showed us in bearing so many sufferings for us from his birth to his death, and about how the way to hell has now been made wide and the way to paradise narrow.

Book 2 - Chapter 15

“You are wondering why I am telling you such things and why I am revealing such marvels to you. Is it for your sake alone? Of course not, it is for the edification and salvation of others. You see, the world was like a kind of wilderness in which there was one road leading down to the great abyss. In the abyss were two chambers. One was so deep that it had no bottom and the people who went down into it never came up again. The second was not so deep or frightening as the first. Those who went down into it had some hope of help; they experienced longing and delay but not misery, darkness but not torment. The people who lived in this second chamber kept sending their cries daily to a magnificent city nearby that was filled with every good thing and every delight.

They cried out hardily, for they knew the way to the city. However, the wild forest was so thick and dense that they were unable to cross it or make any advance because of its density, and they had not the strength to forge a path through it. What was their cry? Their cry was this: 'O God, come and give us help, show us the way and enlighten us, we are waiting for you! We cannot be saved by anyone but you.' This cry came to my hearing in heaven and moved me to mercy. Appeased by their crying, I came to the wilderness like a pilgrim.

But before I began to work and make my way, a voice spoke out ahead of me, saying: 'The ax has been laid to the tree.' This voice was none other than John the Baptist. He was sent before me and cried out in the desert: 'The ax has been laid to the tree,' which is to say: 'Let the human race be ready, for the ax is now ready, and he has come to prepare a way to the city and is uprooting every obstacle.' When I came, I worked from sunrise to sunset, that is, I devoted myself to the salvation of humankind from the time of my incarnation until my death on the cross. At the start of my undertaking, I took flight into the wilderness away from my enemies, more precisely, from Herod who was pursuing me; I was put to the test by the devil and suffered persecution from men. Later, while enduring much toil, I ate and drank and sinlessly complied with other natural needs in order to build up the faith and to show that I had truly taken a human nature.

While I prepared the way to the city, that is, to heaven, and uprooted all the obstacles that had sprung up, brambles and thorns scratched my side and harsh nails wounded my hands and feet. My teeth and my cheeks were badly mishandled. I bore it with patience and did not turn back but went ahead all the more zealously, like an animal driven by starvation that, when it sees a man holding a spear against it, charges into the spear in its desire to get at the man. And the more the man thrusts the spear into the entrails of the animal, the more the animal thrusts itself against the spear in its desire to get at the man, until at last its entrails and entire body are pierced through and through. In like manner, I burned with such love for the soul, that, when I beheld and experienced all these harsh torments, the more eager men were to kill me, the more ardent I became to suffer for the salvation of souls.

Thus I made my way in the wilderness of this world and prepared a road through my blood and sweat. The world might well be called a wilderness, since it was lacking in every virtue and remained a wilderness of vice. It had only one road on which everyone was descending into hell, the damned toward damnation, the good towards darkness. I heard mercifully their longstanding desire for future salvation and came like a pilgrim in order to work. Unknown to them in my divinity and power, I prepared the road that leads to heaven. My friends saw this way and observed the difficulties of my work and my eagerness of heart, and many of them followed me in joy for a long time.

But now there has been a change in the voice that used to cry out: 'Be ready!' My road has been altered, and thickets and thorn bushes have grown up, and those who were advancing on it have halted. The way to hell has been opened up. It is broad, and many people travel by it. However, in order not to let my road become altogether forgotten and neglected, my few friends still travel it in their longing for their heavenly homeland, like birds moving from bush to bush, hidden, as it were, and serving me out of fear, since everyone nowadays thinks that to travel by the way of the world leads to happiness and joy.
For this reason, because my road has become narrow while the road of the world has been widened, I am now shouting out to my friends in the wilderness, that is, in the world, that they should remove the thorn bushes and brambles from the road leading to heaven and recommend my road to those who are making their way.

As it is written: 'Blessed are those who have not seen me and have believed'. Likewise, happy are they who now believe in my words and put them into practice. As you see, I am like a mother who runs out to meet her roving son. She holds out a light for him on the way so that he can see the road. In her love, she goes to meet him on the way and shortens his journey. She goes up to him and embraces and greets him. With love like that I shall run out to meet my friends and all the people returning to me, and I shall give their hearts and souls the light of divine wisdom. I will embrace them with glory and surround them with the heavenly court where there is neither heaven above nor earth below but only the vision of God; where there is neither food nor drink, but only the enjoyment of God.

The road to hell is open for the wicked. Once they enter into it, they will never come up again. They will be without glory or bliss and will be filled with misery and everlasting reproach. This is why I speak these words and reveal this love of mine, so that those who have turned away may turn back to me and recognize me, their Creator, whom they have forgotten.”

Christ's words to the bride about why he speaks with her rather than with others better than she, and about three things commanded, three forbidden, three permitted, and three recommended to the bride by Christ; a most excellent lesson.

Book 2 - Chapter 16

“Many people wonder why I speak with you and not with others who live a better life and have served me for a longer time. I answer them by way of a parable: A certain lord owns several vineyards in several different regions. The wine of each vineyard has the particular taste of the region where it comes from. Once the wine has been pressed, the owner of the vineyards sometimes drinks the mediocre and weaker wine and not the better kind. If any of those present sees him and asks their lord why he does so, he will answer that this particular wine tasted good and sweet to him at the time. This does not meant that the lord gets rid of the better wines or holds them in disdain, but that he reserves them for his use and privilege on an appropriate occasion, each of them for the occasion for which it is suited. This is the way I deal with you.

I have many friends whose life is sweeter to me than honey, more delicious than any wine, brighter in my sight than the sun. However, it pleased me to choose you in my Spirit, not because you are better than they are or equal to them or better qualified, but because I wanted to - I who can make sages out of fools and saints out of sinners. I did not grant you so great a grace because I hold the others in disdain. Rather, I am reserving them for another use and privilege as justice demands. Humble yourself then in every way, and do not let anything trouble you but your sins. Love everyone, even those who seem to hate and slander you, for they are only providing you with a greater opportunity to win your crown! Three things I command you to do. Three things I command you not to do. Three things I permit you to do. Three things I recommend you to do.

I command you to do three things, then. First, to desire nothing but your God; second, to cast off all pride and arrogance; third, always to hate the lust of the flesh. Three things I order you not to do. First, neither to love vain, indecent speech nor, second, excessive eating and superfluity in other things, and, third, to flee from worldly merriment and frivolity. I permit you to do three things. First, to sleep moderately for the sake of good health; second, to carry out temperate vigils to train the body; third, to eat moderately for the strength and sustenance of your body.

I recommend three things to you. First, to take pains to fast and carry out good works that earn the promise of the kingdom of heaven; second, to dispose of your possessions for the glory of God; third, I counsel you to think on two things continually in your heart. First, think on all that I have done for you by suffering and dying for you. Such a thought stirs up love for God. Second, consider my justice and the coming judgment. This instills fear in your mind. Finally, there is a fourth thing which I both order and command and recommend and permit. This is to obey as you ought. I order this, inasmuch as I am your God. I command you not to act otherwise, inasmuch as I am your Lord. I permit this to you, inasmuch as I am your bridegroom. I also recommend it, inasmuch as I am your friend.”

Christ's words to the bride about how God's divinity can truly be named virtue, and about the manifold downfall of humankind instigated by the devil, and about the manifold remedy to aid humankind that was given and provided for through Christ.

Book 2 - Chapter 17

The Son of God spoke to the bride saying: ”Do you firmly believe that what the priest holds in his hands is the body of God?” She answered: ”I firmly believe that, just as the word sent to Mary was made flesh and blood in her womb, so too that which I now see in the hands of the priest I believe to be true God and man.” The Lord answered her: ”I am the same who am speaking to you, remaining eternally in the divine nature, having become human in the womb of the Virgin but without losing my divinity. My divinity can rightly be named virtue, since there are two things in it: power most powerful, the source of all power, and wisdom most wise, the source and seat of all wisdom. In this divine nature all things that exist are ordered wisely and rationally.

There is not one little tittle in heaven that is not in it and that has not been established and foreseen by it. Not a single atom on earth, not one spark in hell is outside its rule and can hide itself from its foreknowledge. Do you wonder why I said 'not one little tittle in heaven'? Well, a tittle is the final stroke on a glossed word. Indeed God's word is the final stroke on all things and was ordained for the glorification of all things. Why did I say 'not a single atom on earth,' if not because all earthly things are transitory? Not even atoms, however small they are, are outside of God's plan and providence. Why did I say 'not one spark in hell,' if not because there is nothing in hell except envy? Just as a spark comes from fire, so all kinds of evil and envy come from the unclean spirits, with the result that they and their followers always have envy but never love of any kind.

Therefore, perfect knowledge and power are in God, which is why each thing is so arranged that nothing is greater than God's power, nor can anything be caused to be made contrary to reason, but all things have been made rationally, suitable to the nature of each thing. The divine nature, then, inasmuch as it can rightly be named virtue, showed its greatest virtue in the creation of the angels. It created them for its own glory and for their delight, so that they might have charity and obedience: charity, by which they love none but God; obedience, by which they obey God in all things. Some of the angels went wickedly astray and wickedly set their will against these two things. They turned their will directly against God, so much so that virtue became odious to them and, therefore, that which was opposed to God became dear to them. Because of this disordered direction of their will, they deserved to fall. It was not that God caused their fall, but they themselves brought it about through the abuse of their own knowledge.

When God saw the reduction in the numbers of the heavenly host that had been caused through their sin, he again showed the power of his divinity. For he created human beings in body and soul. He gave them two goods, namely the freedom to do good and the freedom to avoid evil, because, given that no more angels were to be created, it was fitting that human beings should have the freedom of rising, if they wished, to angelic rank. God also gave the human soul two goods, namely a rational mind to order to distinguish opposite from opposite and better from best; and fortitude in order to persevere in the good. When the devil saw this love of God for mankind, he considered thus in his envy: 'So then, God has made a new thing that can rise up to our place and by its own efforts gain that which we lost through neglect!

If we can deceive him and cause his downfall, he will cease his efforts, and then he will not rise up to such a rank.' Then, having thought out a plan of deception, they deceived the first man and prevailed over him with my just permission. But how and when was the man defeated? To be sure, when he left off virtue and did what was forbidden, when the serpent's promise pleased him more than obedience to me. Due to this disobedience he could not live in heaven, since he had despised God, and not in hell either, since his soul, using reason, carefully examined what he had done and had contrition for his crime.

For that reason, the God of virtue, considering human wretchedness, arranged a kind of imprisonment or place of captivity, where people might come to recognize their weakness and atone for their disobedience until they should deserve to rise to the rank they had lost. The devil, meanwhile, taking this into consideration, wanted to kill the human soul by means of ingratitude. Injecting his filth into the soul, he so darkened her intellect that she had neither the love nor the fear of God. God's justice was forgotten and his judgment scorned. For that reason, God's goodness and gifts were no longer appreciated but fell into oblivion.

Thus God was not loved, and the human conscience was so darkened that humanity was in a wretched state and fell into even greater wretchedness. Although humanity was in such a state, still God's virtue was not lacking; rather, he revealed his mercy and justice. He revealed his mercy when he revealed to Adam and other good people that they would obtain help at a predetermined time. This stirred up their fervor and love for God. He also revealed his justice through the flood in Noah's day, which filled human hearts with the fear of God. Even after that the devil still did not leave off further molesting humankind, but attacked it by means of two other evils. First, he inspired faithlessness in people; second, hopelessness. He inspired faithlessness in order that people might not believe in the word of God but would attribute his wonders to fate. He inspired hopelessness lest they hope to be saved and obtain the glory they had lost.

The God of virtue supplied two remedies to fight these two evils. Against hopelessness he offered hope, giving Abram a new name and promising him that from his seed there would be born the one who would lead him and the imitators of his faith back to the lost inheritance. He also appointed prophets to whom he revealed the manner of redemption and the times and places of his suffering. With respect to the second evil of faithlessness, God spoke to Moses and revealed his will and the law to him and backed his words up with portents and deeds. Although all this was done, still the devil did not desist from his evil. Constantly urging humankind on to worse sins, he inspired two other attitudes in the human heart: first, that of regarding the law as unbearable and losing peace of mind over trying to live up to it; second, he inspired the thought that God's decision to die and suffer out of charity was too incredible and far too difficult to believe.

Again God provided two further remedies for these two evils. First, he sent his own Son into the womb of the Virgin so that nobody would lose peace of mind over how hard the Law was to fulfill, since, having assumed a human nature, his Son fulfilled the requirements of the Law and then made it less strict. With respect to the second evil, God displayed the very height of virtue. The Creator died for creation, the righteous one for sinners. Innocent, he suffered to the last drop, as had been foretold by the prophets. Even then the wickedness of the devil did not cease, but again he rose up against humanity, inspiring two further evils. First, he inspired the human heart to hold my words in contempt and, second, to let my deeds fall into oblivion.

God's virtue has again begun to indicate two new remedies against these two evils. The first is to return my words to honor and to undertake to imitate my deeds. This is why God has led you in his Spirit. He has also revealed his will on earth to his friends through you, for two reasons in particular. The first is in order to reveal God's mercy, so that people might learn to recall the memory of God's love and suffering. The second is to remind them of God's justice and to make them fear the severity of my judgment.

Therefore, tell this man that, given that my mercy has already come, he should bring it out into the light so that people might learn to seek mercy and to beware of the judgment on themselves. Moreover, tell him that, although my words have been written down, still they must first be preached and put into practice. You can understand this by way of a metaphor. When Moses was about to receive the Law, a staff was made and two stone tablets were hewn. Nevertheless, he did not work miracles with the staff until there was a need for it and the occasion demanded it. When the acceptable time came, then there was a show of miracles and my words were proved by deeds.

Likewise, when the New Law arrived, first my body grew and developed until a suitable time and from then on my words were heard. However, although my words were heard, still they did not have force and strength in themselves until accompanied by my deeds. And they were not fulfilled until I fulfilled all the things that had been foretold about me through my passion. It is the same now. Although my loving words have been written down and should be conveyed to the world, still they cannot have any force until they have been completely brought out into the light.”

About three wonderful things that Christ has done for the bride, and about how the sight of angels is too beautiful and that of devils too ugly for human nature to bear, and about why Christ has condescended to come as a guest to a widow like her.

Book 2 - Chapter 18

“I have done three wonderful things for you. You see with spiritual eyes. You hear with spiritual ears. With the physical touch of your hand you feel my spirit in your living breast. You do not see the sight you see as it is in fact. For if you saw the spiritual beauty of the angels and of holy souls, your body could not bear to see it but would break like a vessel, broken and decayed due to the soul's joy at the sight. If you saw the demons as they are, you would either go on living in great sorrow or you would die a sudden death at the terrible sight of them. This is why spiritual beings appear to you as if they had bodies.

The angels and souls appear to you in the likeness of human beings who have soul and life, because angels live by their spirit. The demons appear to you in a form that is mortal and belongs to mortality, such as in the form of animals or other creatures. Such creatures have a mortal spirit, since when their body dies, their spirit dies too. However, devils do not die in spirit but are forever dying and live forever. Spiritual words are spoken to you by means of analogies, since you cannot grasp them otherwise. The most wonderful thing of all is that you feel my spirit move in your heart.”

Then she replied: ”O my Lord, Son of the Virgin, why have you condescended to come as a guest to so base a widow, who is poor in every good work and so weak in understanding and discernment and ridden with sin for so long?” He answered her: ”I can do three things. First, I can make a poor person rich and a foolish person of little intelligence capable and intelligent. I am also able to restore an aged person to youth. It is like the phoenix that brings together dried twigs. Among them is the twig of a certain tree that is dry by nature on the outside and warm on the inside. The warmth of the sunbeams comes to it first and kindles it, and then all the twigs are set on fire from it. In the same way you should gather together the virtues by which you can be restored from your sins.

Among them you should have a piece of wood that is warm on the inside and dry on the outside; I mean your heart, which should be dry and pure from all worldly sensuality on the outside and so full of love on the inside that you want nothing and yearn for nothing but me. Then the fire of my love will come into the heart first and in that way you will be enkindled with all the virtues. Thoroughly burned by them and purged from sins, you will arise like the rejuvenated bird, having put off the skin of sensuality.”

Christ's words to the bride about how God speaks to his friends through his preachers and through sufferings, and about Christ as symbolized by an owner of bees and the church by a beehive and Christians by bees, and about why bad Christians are allowed to live among good ones.

Book 2 - Chapter 19

“I am your God. My Spirit has led you to hear and see and feel: to hear my words, to see visions, to feel my Spirit with the joy and devotion of your soul. All mercy is found in me together with justice, and there is mercy in my justice. I am like a man who sees his friends fall away from him, down on to a road where there is a horrible yawning gap out of which it is impossible to climb. I speak to these friends through those people who have an understanding of scripture. I speak with a lash, I warn them of their danger. But they just act contrariwise. They head for the impasse and do not care about what I say.

I have only one thing to say: 'Sinner, turn back to me! You are headed for danger; there are traps along the way of a kind that are hidden from you due to the darkness of your heart.' They scorn what I say. They ignore my mercy. However, though my mercy is such that I warn sinners, my justice is such that, even if all the angels were to drag them back, they could not be converted unless they themselves direct their own will toward the good. If they turned their will to me and gave me their heart's consent, not all the demons together could hold them back.

There is an insect called the bee that is kept by its lord and master. The bees show respect in three ways to their ruler, the queen bee, and derive benefit from her in three ways. First, the bees carry all the nectar they find to their queen. Second, they stay or go at her beck and call, and wherever they fly and wherever they appear, their love and charity is always for the queen. Third, they follow and serve her, sticking steadily close by her side. In return for these three things, the bees receive a threefold benefit from their queen.

First, her signal gives them a set time to go out and work. Second, she gives them direction and mutual love. Because of her presence and rule and because of the love she has toward them and they toward her, all the bees are united with one another in love, and each one rejoices over the others and at their advancement. Third, they are made fruitful through their mutual love and the joy of their leader. Just as fish discharge their eggs while playing together in the sea, and their eggs fall into the sea and bear fruit, so bees are also made fruitful through their mutual love and their leader's affection and joy. By my wondrous power, a seemingly lifeless seed comes forth from their love and will receive life through my goodness.

The master, that is, the owner of the bees, speaks to his servant in his concern for them: 'My servant,' he says, 'it seems to me that my bees are ill and do not fly at all.' The servant answers: 'I do not understand this illness, but if it is so, I ask you how I can learn about it.' The master answers: 'You can infer their illness or problem by three signs. The first sign is that they are weak and sluggish in flight, which means that they have lost the queen from whom they receive strength and consolation. The second sign is that they go out at random and unplanned hours, which means that they are not getting the signal of their leader's call.

The third sign is that they show no love for the beehive, and therefore return home carrying nothing back, sating themselves but not bringing any nectar to live on in the future. Healthy and fit bees are steady and strong in their flight. They keep regular hours for going out and returning, bringing back wax to build their dwellings and honey for their nourishment.' The servant answers the master: 'If they are useless and infirm, why do you allow them to go on anymore and do not do away with them?' The master answers: 'I permit them to live for three reasons, inasmuch as they provide three benefits, although not by their own power.

First, because they occupy the dwellings prepared for them, horseflies do not come and occupy the empty dwellings and disturb the good bees that remain. Second, other bees become more fruitful and diligent at their work due to the badness of the bad bees. The fruitful bees see the bad and unfruitful bees working only to satisfy their own desires, and they become the more diligent in their work of gathering for their queen the more eager the bad bees are seen to be in gathering for their own desires. In the third place, the bad bees are useful to the good bees when it comes to their mutual defense. For there is a flying insect accustomed to eating bees. When the bees perceive this insect coming, all of them hate it in common.

Although the bad bees fight and hate it out of envy and self-defense, while the good ones do so out of love and justice, both the good and bad bees work together to attack these insects. If all the bad bees were taken away and only the good ones were left, this insect would quickly prevail over them, since then they would be fewer. That is why,' the master said, 'I put up with the useless bees. However, when autumn comes, I shall provide for the good bees and shall separate them from the bad ones that, if they are left outside the beehive, will die from the cold.

But if they remain inside and do not gather, they will be in danger of starvation, inasmuch as they have neglected to gather food when they could.' I am God, the Creator of all things; I am the owner and the lord of the bees. Out of my ardent love and by my blood I founded my beehive, that is, the Holy Church, in which Christians should be gathered and dwell in unity of faith and mutual love. Their dwelling-places are their hearts, and the honey of good thoughts and affections should inhabit it. This honey ought to be brought there through considering my love in creation and my toils in redemption and my patient support and mercy in calling back and restoring.

In this beehive, that is, in the Holy Church, there are two kinds of people, just as there were two kinds of bees. The first ones are those bad Christians who do not gather nectar for me but for themselves. They return carrying nothing back and do not recognize their leader. They have a sting instead of honey and lust instead of love. The good bees represent good Christians. They show me respect in three ways. First, they hold me as their leader and lord, offering me sweet honey, that is, works of charity, which are pleasing to me and useful to themselves. Second, they wait upon my will. Their will accords with my will, all their thought is on my passion, all their actions are for my glory. Third, they follow me, that is, they obey me in everything.

Wherever they are, whether outside or inside, whether in sorrow or in joy, their heart is always joined to my heart. This is why they derive benefit from me in three ways. First, through the call of virtue and my inspiration, they have fixed and certain times, night at nighttime and daylight at daytime. Indeed, they change night into day, that is, worldly happiness into eternal happiness, and perishable happiness into everlasting stability. They are sensible in every respect, inasmuch as they make use of their present goods for their necessities; they are steadfast in adversity, wary in success, moderate in the care of the body, careful and circumspect in their actions. Second, like the good bees, they have mutual love, in such away that they are all of one heart toward me, loving their neighbor as themselves but me above all else, even above themselves.

Third, they are made fruitful through me. What is it to be fruitful if not to have my Holy Spirit and be filled with him? Whoever does not have him and lacks his honey is unfruitful and useless; he falls down and perishes. However, the Holy Spirit sets the person in whom he dwells on fire with divine love; he opens the senses of his mind; he uproots pride and incontinence; he spurs the soul on to the glory of God and the contempt of the world.

The unfruitful bees do not know this Spirit and therefore scorn discipline, fleeing the unity and fellowship of love. They are empty of good works; they change daylight into darkness, consolation into mourning, happiness into sorrow. Nevertheless, I let them live for three reasons. First, so that horseflies, that is, the infidels, do not get into the dwelling-places that have been prepared. If the wicked were removed all at once, there would be too few good Christians left, and, because of their small numbers, the infidels, being greater in number, would come and live side by side with them, causing them much disturbance. Second, they are tolerated in order to test the good Christians, for, as you know, the perseverance of good people is put to the test by the wickedness of the wicked.

Adversity reveals how patient a person is, while prosperity makes plain how persevering and temperate he is. Since vices insinuate themselves into good characters from time to time and virtues can often make people proud, the wicked are allowed to live alongside the good in order that good people may not become enervated from too much happiness or fall asleep out of sloth, and also in order that they may frequently fix their gaze on God. Where there is little struggle, there is also little reward. In the third place, they are tolerated for their assistance so that neither the gentiles nor other hostile infidels might harm those seeming to be good Christians , but that they might rather fear them because there are more of them. The good offer resistance to the wicked out of justice and love of God, while the wicked do so only for the sake of self-defense and to avoid God's wrath. In this way, then, the good and wicked help each other, with the result that the wicked are tolerated for the sake of the good and the good receive a higher crown on account of the wickedness of the wicked.

The beekeepers are the prelates of the church and the princes of the land, whether good or bad. I speak to the good keepers and I, their God and keeper, admonish them to keep my bees safe. Have them consider the comings and goings of the bees! Let them take note of whether they are sick or healthy! If they happen not to know how to discern this, here are three signs I give them to recognize it. Those bees are useless that are sluggish in flight, erratic in their hours, and contribute nothing to bringing in honey. The ones that are sluggish in flight are those who show greater concern for temporal goods than for eternal ones, who fear the death of the body more than that of the soul, who say this to themselves: 'Why should I be full of disquiet, when I can have quiet and peace? Why should I die to myself when I can live?'

These wretches do not reflect on how I, the powerful King of glory, chose to be powerless. I know the greatest quiet and peace and, indeed, I am peace itself, and yet I chose to give up peace and quiet for their sake and freed them through my own death. They are erratic in their hours in that their affections tend toward worldliness, their conversation toward indecency, their labor toward selfishness, and they arrange their time according to the cravings of their bodies. The ones who have no love for the beehive and do not gather nectar are those who do some good works for my sake but only out of fear of punishment. Even though they do perform some works of piety, still they do not give up their selfishness and sin. They want to have God but without giving up the world or enduring any wants or hardship.

These bees are the kind that hurry home with empty feet, but their hurry is unwise, since they do not fly with the right sort of love. Accordingly, when autumn comes, that is, when the time of separation comes, the useless bees will be separated from the good ones and they will suffer eternal hunger in return for their selfish love and desires. In return for scorning God and for their disgust at virtue they will be destroyed by excessive cold but with out being consumed.

However, my friends should be on their guard against three evils from the bad bees. First, against letting their rottenness enter the ears of my friends, since the bad bees are poisonous. Once their honey is gone, there is nothing sweet left in them; instead they are full of poisoned bitterness. Second, they should guard the pupils of their eyes against the wings of the bad bees that are as sharp as needles. Third, they should be careful not to expose their bodies to the tails of the bees, for they have barbs that sting sharply. The learned who study their habits and temperament can explain the meaning of these things. Those who are unable to understand it should be wary of the risks and avoid their company and example.

Otherwise, they will learn by experience what they did not know how to learn by listening.” Then his Mother said: ”Blessed are you, my Son, you who are and were and always will be! Your mercy is sweet and your justice great. You seem to remind me, my Son - to speak figuratively - of a cloud rising up to heaven preceded by a light breeze. A dark spot appeared in the cloud, and a person who was out of doors, feeling the light breeze, raised his eyes and saw the dark cloud and thought to himself: 'This dark cloud seems to me to indicate rain.' And he prudently hurried into a shelter and hid himself from the rain.

Others, however, who were blind or who perhaps did not care, made little of the light breeze and were unafraid of the dark cloud, but they learned by experience what the cloud meant. The cloud, taking over the whole sky, came with violent commotion and so furious and mighty a fire that living things were expiring at the very commotion. The fire was consuming all the inner and outer parts of man so that nothing remained.
My Son, this cloud is your words, which seem dark and incredible to many people since they have not been heard much and since they have been given to ignorant people and have not been confirmed by portents. These words were preceded by my prayer and by the mercy with which you have mercy on everyone and, like a mother, draw everyone to yourself.

This mercy is as light as a light breeze because of your patience and sufferance. It is warm with the love with which you teach mercy to those who provoke you to anger and offer kindness to those who scorn you. Therefore, may all those who hear these words raise their eyes and see and know their source. They should consider whether these words signify mercy and humility. They should reflect on whether the words signify present or future things, truth or falsehood. If they find that the words are true, let them hurry to a shelter, that is, to true humility and love of God. For, when justice comes, the soul will then be separated from the body and engulfed by fire and burn both outwardly and inwardly. It will burn, to be sure, but it will not be consumed. For this reason, I, the Queen of mercy, cry out to the inhabitants of the world: may they raise their eyes and behold mercy! I admonish and beseech like a mother, I counsel like a sovereign lady.

When justice comes, it will be impossible to withstand it. Therefore, have a firm faith and be thoughtful, test the truth in your conscience, change your will, and then the one who has shown you words of love will also show the deeds and proof of love!” Then the Son spoke to me, saying: ”Above, regarding the bees, I showed you that they receive three benefits from their queen. I tell you now that those crusaders whom I have placed at the borders of Christian lands should be bees like that. But now they are fighting against me, for they do not care about souls and have no compassion on the bodies of those who have been converted from error to the Catholic faith and to me.

They oppress them with hardships and deprive them of their liberties. They do not instruct them in the faith, but deprive them of the sacraments and send them to hell with a greater punishment than if they had stayed in their traditional paganism.
Furthermore, they fight only in order to increase their own pride and augment their greed. Therefore, the time is coming for them when their teeth will be ground, their right hand mutilated, their right foot severed, in order that they may live and know themselves.”

God's grievance concerning three men now going around in the world, and about how from the start God established three estates, namely those of the clergy, the defenders, and the laborers; and about the punishment prepared for the thankless and about the glory given to the thankful.

Book 2 - Chapter 20

The great host of heaven was seen, and God spoke to it, saying: ”Although you know and see all things in me, however, because it is my wish, I will state my complaint before you concerning three things. The first is that those lovely beehives, which were built in heaven from all eternity and from which those worthless bees went out, are empty. The second is that the bottomless pit, against which neither rocks nor trees are of any help, stands ever open. Souls descend into it like snow falling from the sky down to earth. Just as the sun dissolves snow into water, so too souls are dissolved of every good by that terrible torment and are renewed unto every punishment. My third complaint is that few people notice the fall of souls or the empty dwellings from which the bad angels have strayed. I am therefore right to complain.

I chose three men from the beginning. By this I am figuratively speaking of the three estates in the world. First, I chose a cleric to proclaim my will in his words and to demonstrate it in his actions. Second, I chose a defender to defend my friends with his own life and to be ready for any undertaking for my sake. Third, I chose a laborer to labor with his hands in order to provide bodily food through his work.
The first man, that is, the clergy, has now become leprous and mute. Anyone who looks to see a fine and virtuous character in him shrinks back at the sight and shudders to approach him because of the leprosy of his pride and greed. When he wants to listen to him, the priest is mute about praising me but a chatterbox in praising himself.

So, how is the path to be opened that leads the way to great joy, if the one who should be leading the way is so weak? And if the one who should be proclaiming it is mute, how will that heavenly joy be heard of? The second man, the defender, trembles at heart and his hands are idle. He trembles at causing scandal in the world and losing his reputation. His hands are idle in that he does not perform any holy works. Instead, everything he does, he does for the world. Who, then, will defend my people if the one who should be their leader is afraid?

The third man is like an ass that lowers its head to the ground and stands with its four feet joined together. Sure, indeed, the people are like an ass that longs for nothing but things of the earth, which neglects the things of heaven and goes in search of perishable goods. They have four feet, since they have little faith and their hope is idle; third, they have no good works and, fourth, they are entirely intent upon sinning. This is why their mouth is always open for gluttony and greed. My friends, how can that endless yawning pit be reduced or the honeycomb be filled by people such as these?”

God's Mother replied: ”May you be blessed, my Son! Your grievance is justified. Your friends and I have only one word of excuse for you to save the human race. It is this: 'Have mercy, Jesus Christ, Son of the living God!' This is my cry and the cry of your friends.” The Son replied: ”Your words are sweet to my ears, their taste delights my mouth, they enter my heart with love. I do have a cleric, a defender, and a peasant. The first pleases me like a bride whom an honest bridegroom yearns and longs for with divine love. His voice will be like the voice of clamorous speech that echoes in the woods. The second will be ready to give his life for me and will not fear the reproach of the world. I shall arm him with the weapons of my Holy Spirit. The third will have so firm a faith that he will say: 'I believe as firmly as if I saw what I believe. I hope for all the things God has promised.' He will have the intention of doing good and growing in virtue and avoiding evil.

In the first man's mouth I shall put three sayings for him to proclaim. His first proclamation will be: 'Let him who has faith put what he believes into practice!' The second: 'Let him who has a firm hope be steadfast in every good work.' The third: 'Let him who loves perfectly and with charity yearn fervently to see the object of his love!' The second man will work like a strong lion, taking careful precautions against treachery and persevering steadfastly. The third man will be as wise as a serpent that stands on its tail and lifts its head to the skies. These three will carry out my will. Others will follow them. Although I speak of three, by them I mean many.” Then he spoke to the bride, saying: ”Stand firm! Do not be concerned about the world or about its reproaches, for I, who heard every kind of reproach, am your God and your Lord.”

The words of the glorious Virgin to her daughter about how Christ was taken down from the cross and about her own bitterness and sweetness at the passion of her Son, and about how the soul is symbolized by a virgin and the love of the world and the love of God by two youths, and about the qualities the soul should have as a virgin.

Book 2 - Chapter 21

Mary spoke: ”You should reflect on five things, my daughter. First, how every limb in my Son's body grew stiff and cold at his death and how the blood that flowed from his wounds as he was suffering dried up and clung to each limb. Second, how his heart was pierced so bitterly and mercilessly that the man speared it until the lance hit a rib, and both parts of the heart were on the lance. Third, reflect on how he was taken down from the cross! The two men who took him down from the cross made use of three stepladders: one reached to his feet, the second just below his armpits and arms, the third to the middle of his body.

The first man got up and held him by the middle. The second, getting up on another ladder, first pulled a nail out of one arm, then moved the ladder and pulled the nail from the other hand. The nails extended through the crossbeam. The man who had been holding up the weight of the body then went down as slowly and carefully as he could, while the other man got up on the stepladder that went to the feet and pulled out the nails from the feet. When he was lowered to the ground, one of them held the body by the head and the other by the feet. I, his mother, held him about the waist. And so the three of us carried him to a rock that I had covered with a clean sheet and in that we wrapped his body. I did not sew the sheet together, because I knew that he would not decay in the grave.

After that came Mary Magdalene and the other holy women. Angels, too, as many as the atoms of the sun, were there, showing their allegiance to their Creator. None can tell what sorrow I had at the time. I was like a woman giving birth who shakes in every limb of her body after delivery. Although she can scarcely breathe due to the pain, still she rejoices inwardly as much as she can because she knows that the child she has given birth to will never return to the same painful ordeal he has just left. In the same way, although no sorrow could compare with my sorrow over the death of my Son, still I rejoiced in my soul because I knew my Son would no longer die but would live forever.

Thus my sorrow was mixed with a measure of joy. I can truly say that there were two hearts in the one grave where my Son was buried. Is it not said: 'Where your treasure is, there is your heart as well'? Likewise, my heart and mind were constantly going to my Son's grave.” Then the Mother of God went on to say: ”I shall describe this man by way of a metaphor, how he was situated and in what kind of state and what his present situation is like. It is as though a virgin was betrothed to a man and two youths were standing before her. One of them, having been addressed by the virgin, said to her:
'I advise you not to trust the man to whom you are betrothed. He is unbending in his actions, tardy in payment, miserly in giving gifts. Rather, put your trust in me and in the words I speak to you, and I shall show you another man who is not hard but gentle in every way, who gives you what you want right away and gives you plenty of pleasant and delightful gifts.'

The virgin, hearing this and thinking about it to herself, answered: 'Your words are good to hear. You yourself are gentle and attractive to my eyes. I think I will follow your advice.' When she took off her ring in order to give it to the youth, she saw three sayings inscribed on it. The first was: 'When you come to the top of the tree, beware lest you lay hold of a dry branch of the tree to support yourself and fall!' The second saying was: 'Beware lest you take advice from an enemy!'

The third saying was: 'Place not your heart between the teeth of a lion!' When the virgin saw these sayings, she pulled her hand back and held onto the ring, thinking to herself: 'These three sayings I see may perhaps mean that this man who wants to have me as his bride is not to be trusted. It seems to me that his words are empty; he is full of hatred and will kill me.' While she was thinking this, she looked again and noticed another inscription that also had three sayings.

The first saying was: 'Give to the one who gives to you!' The second saying was: 'Give blood for blood!' The third saying was: 'Take not from the owner what belongs to him!' When the virgin saw and heard this, she thought again to herself: 'The first three sayings inform me how I can escape death, the other three how I can obtain life. Therefore, it is right for me to follow the words of life.' Then the virgin prudently summoned to herself the servant of the man to whom she had first been betrothed. When he came, the man who wanted to deceive her withdrew from them.

So it is with the soul of that person who was betrothed to God. The two youths standing before the soul represent the friendship of God and the friendship of the world. The friends of the world have come closer to him up until now. They spoke to him of worldly riches and glory and he almost gave the ring of his love to them and consented to them in every way. But by the aid of my Son's grace he saw an inscription, that is, he heard the words of his mercy and understood three things through them. First, that he should beware lest, the higher he rose and the more he relied on perishable things, the worse would be the fall that threatened him.

Second, he understood that there was nothing in the world but sorrow and care. Third, that his reward from the devil would be evil. Then he saw another inscription, I mean, he heard its consoling messages. The first message was that he should give his possessions to God from whom he had received them all. The second was that he should render the service of his own body to the man who had shed his blood for him. The third was that he should not alienate his soul from the God who had created and redeemed it. Now that he has heard and carefully considered these things, God's servants approach him and he is pleased with them, and the servants of the world draw away from him.

His soul is now like a virgin who has risen fresh from the arms of her bridegroom and who ought to have three things. First, she should have fine clothes so as not to be laughed at by the royal maidservants, should some defect be noticed in her clothes. Second, she should comply with the will of her bridegroom so as not to cause him any dishonor on her account, should anything dishonorable be discovered in her actions. Third, she should be completely clean lest the bridegroom discover in her any stain because of which he might scorn or repudiate her.

Let her also have people to guide her to the bridegroom's suite so as not to lose her way about the precincts or in the elaborate entrance. A guide should have two characteristics: first, the person following him should be able to see him; second, one should be able to hear his directions and where he steps. A person following another who leads the way should have three characteristics. First, he should not be slow and sluggish in following. Second, he should not hide himself from the person leading the way. Third, he should pay close attention and watch the footsteps of his guide and follow him eagerly. Thus, in order that his soul may reach the suite of the bridegroom, it is necessary that it be guided by the kind of guide who can successfully lead it to God his bridegroom.”

The glorious Virgin's doctrinal teaching to her daughter about spiritual and temporal wisdom and about which of them one ought to imitate, and about how spiritual wisdom leads a person to everlasting consolation, after a little struggle, while temporal wisdom leads to eternal damnation.

Book 2 - Chapter 22

Mary spoke: ”It is written that 'if you would be wise you should learn wisdom from a wise person.' Accordingly, I give you the figurative example of a man who wanted to learn wisdom and saw two teachers standing before him. He said to them: 'I would really like to learn wisdom, if only I knew where it would lead me and of what use and purpose it is.' One of the teachers answered: 'If you would follow my wisdom, it will lead you up a high mountain along a path that is hard and rocky underfoot, steep and difficult to climb. If you struggle for this wisdom you will gain something that is dark on the outside but shining on the inside. If you hold onto it, you will secure your desire.

Like a circle that spins around, it will draw you to itself more and more, sweetly and ever more sweetly, until in time you are imbued with happiness from every side.' The second teacher said: 'If you follow my wisdom, it will lead you to a lush and beautiful valley with the fruits of every land. The path is soft underfoot and the descent is little trouble. If you persevere in this wisdom, you will gain something that is shiny on the outside, but when you want to use it, it will fly away from you. You will also have something that does not last but ends suddenly. A book, too, once you have read it through to the end, ceases to exist along with the act of reading, and you are left idle.'

When the man heard this, he thought to himself: 'I hear two amazing things. If I climb up the mountain, my feet get weak and my back grows heavy. Then, if I do obtain the thing that is dark on the outside, what good will it do me? If I struggle for something that has no end, when will there be any consolation for me? The other teacher promises something that is radiant on the outside but does not last, a kind of wisdom that will end with the reading of it. What use do I have of things with no stability?' While he was thinking this in his mind, suddenly another man appeared between the two teachers and said: 'Although the mountain is high and difficult to climb, nevertheless there is a bright cloud above the mountain that will give you comfort.

If the promised container that is dark on the outside can somehow be broken, you will get the gold that is concealed within and you will be in happy possession of it forever.' These two teachers are two kinds of wisdom, namely the wisdom of the spirit and the wisdom of the flesh. The spiritual kind involves giving up your self-will for God and aspiring to the things of heaven with your every desire and action.
It cannot be truly called wisdom if your actions do not accord with your words. This kind of wisdom leads to a blessed life. But it involves a rocky approach and a steep climb, inasmuch as resisting your passions seems a hard and rocky way. It involves a steep climb to spurn habitual pleasures and not to love worldly honors. Although it is difficult, yet for the person who reflects on how little time there is and how the world will end and who fixes his mind constantly on God, above the mountain there will appear a cloud, that is, the consolation of the Holy Spirit.

A person worthy of the Holy Spirit's consolation is one who seeks no other consoler but God. How would all the elect have undertaken such hard and arduous tasks, if God's Spirit had not cooperated with their goodwill as with a good instrument? Their good will drew this Spirit to them, and the divine love they had for God invited it, for they struggled with heart and will until they were made strong in works.

They won the consolation of the Spirit and also soon obtained the gold of divine delight and love that not only made them able to bear a great many adversities but also made them rejoice in bearing them as they thought of their reward. Such rejoicing seems dark to the lovers of this world, for they love darkness. But to the lovers of God it is brighter than the sun and shines more than gold, for they break through the darkness of their vices and climb the mountain of patience, contemplating the cloud of that consolation that never ends but begins in the present and spins like a circle until it reaches perfection. Worldly wisdom leads to a valley of misery that seems lush in its plenty, beautiful in reputation, soft in luxury. This kind of wisdom will end swiftly and offers no further benefit beyond what it used to see and hear.

Therefore, my daughter, seek wisdom from the wise one, I mean, from my Son! He is wisdom itself from whom all wisdom comes. He is the circle that never ends. I entreat you as a mother does her child: love the wisdom that is like gold on the inside but contemptible on the outside, that burns inside with love but requires effort on the outside and bears fruit through its works. If you worry about the burden of it all, God's Spirit will be your consoler.

Go and keep on trying like someone who keeps going on until the habit is acquired. Do not turn back until you reach the peak of the mountain! There is nothing so difficult that it does not become easy through steadfast and intelligent perseverance. There is no pursuit so noble at the outset that it does not fall into darkness by not being brought to completion. Advance, then, toward spiritual wisdom! It will lead you to physical toil, to despising the world, to a little pain, and to everlasting consolation. But worldly wisdom is deceitful and conceals a sting. It will lead you to the hoarding of temporary goods and to present prestige but, in the end, to the greatest unhappiness, unless you are wary and take careful precautions.”

The glorious Virgin's words explaining her humility to her daughter, and about how humility is likened to a cloak, and about the characteristics of true humility and its wonderful fruits.

Book 2 - Chapter 23

“Many people wonder why I speak with you. It is, of course, to show my humility. If a member of the body is sick, the heart is not content until it has regained its health, and once its health is restored the heart is all the more gladdened. In the same way, however much a person may sin, if he turns back to me with all his heart and a true purpose of amendment, I am immediately prepared to welcome him when he comes. Nor do I pay attention to how much he may have sinned but to the intention and purpose he has when he returns.

Everyone calls me 'Mother of mercy.' Truly, my daughter, the mercy of my Son has made me merciful and the disclosure of his mercy has made me compassionate. For that reason, that person is miserable who, when she or he is able, does not have recourse to mercy. Come, therefore, my daughter, and hide yourself beneath my cloak! My cloak is contemptible on the outside but very useful on the inside, for three reasons. First, it shelters you from the stormy winds; second, it protects you from the burning cold; third, it defends you against the rain-showers from the sky.

This cloak is my humility. The lovers of the world hold this in contempt and think that imitating it is a silly superstition. What is more contemptible than to be called an idiot and not to get angry or answer in kind? What is more despicable than the giving up of everything and being in every way poor? What seems sorrier to worldly souls than to conceal one's own pain and to think and believe oneself unworthier and lowlier than everyone else? Such was my humility, my daughter. This was my joy, this my one desire. I only thought of how to please my Son. This humility of mine was useful for those who followed me in three ways.

First, it was useful in pestilent and stormy weather, that is, against human taunts and scorn. A powerful and violent storm wind pounds a person from all directions and makes him freeze. In the same way, taunting easily crushes an impatient person who does not reflect on future realities; it drives the soul away from charity. Anyone carefully studying my humility should consider the kinds of things I, the Queen of the universe, had to hear, and so he should seek my praise and not his own.
Let him recall that words are nothing but air and he will soon grow calm. Why are worldly people so unable to put up with verbal taunts, if not because they seek their own praise rather than God's? There is no humility in them, because their eyes are made bleary by sin. Therefore, although the written law says one should not without due cause give one's ear to insulting speech or put up with it, still it is a virtue and a prize to listen patiently to and put up with insults for the sake of God.

Second, my humility is a protection from the burning cold, that is, from carnal friendship. For there is a kind of friendship in which a person is loved for the sake of present commodities, like those who speak in this way: 'Feed me for the present and I will feed you, for it is no concern of mine who feeds you after death! Give me respect and I will respect you, for it does not concern me in the least what kind of future respect there is to come.' This is a cold friendship without the warmth of God, as hard as frozen snow as regards loving and feeling compassion for one's fellow human being in need, and sterile is its reward.

Once a partnership is broken up and the desks are cleared away, the usefulness of that friendship immediately disappears and its profit is lost. Whoever imitates my humility, though, does good to everyone for the sake of God, to enemies and friends alike: to his friends, because they steadily persevere in honoring God; and to his enemies, because they are God's creatures and may become good in the future.

In the third place, the contemplation of my humility is a protection against rain-showers and the impurities coming from the clouds. Where do clouds come from, if not from the moisture and vapors coming from the earth? When they rise to the skies due to heat, they condense in the upper regions and, in this way, three things are produced: rain, hail, and snow. The cloud symbolizes the human body that comes from impurity. The body brings three things with it just as clouds do. The body brings hearing, seeing, and feeling. Because the body can see, it desires the things it sees. It desires good things and beautiful forms; it desires extensive possessions.

What are all these things if not a sort of rain coming from the clouds, staining the soul with a passion for hoarding, unsettling it with worries, distracting it with useless thoughts and upsetting it over the loss of its hoarded goods? Because the body can hear, it would fain hear of its own glory and of the world's friendship. It listens to whatever is pleasant for the body and harmful to the soul. What do all these things resemble if not swiftly melting snow, making the soul grow cold toward God and blear-eyed as to humility?

Because the body has feeling, it would fain feel its own pleasure and physical rest. What does this resemble if not hail that is frozen from impure waters and that renders the soul unfruitful in the spiritual life, strong as regards worldly pursuits and soft as regards physical comforts? Therefore, if a person wants protection from this cloud, let him run for safety to my humility and imitate it. Through it, he is protected from the passion for seeing and does not desire illicit things; he is protected from the pleasure of hearing and does not listen to anything that goes against the truth; he is protected from the lust of the flesh and does not succumb to illicit impulses.

I assure you: The contemplation of my humility is like a good cloak that warms those wearing it; I mean those who not only wear it in theory but also in practice. A physical cloak does not give any warmth unless it is worn. Likewise, my humility does no good to those who just think about it, unless each one strives to imitate it, each in his own way. Therefore, my daughter, don the cloak of humility with all your strength, since worldly women wear cloaks that are a proud thing on the outside but are of little use on the inside. Avoid such garments altogether, since, if the love of the world does not first become abhorrent to you, if you are not continually thinking of God's mercy toward you and your ingratitude toward him, if you do not always have in mind what he has done and what you do, and the just sentence that awaits you in return, you will not be able to comprehend my humility.

Why did I humble myself so much or why did I merit such favor, if not because I considered and knew myself to be nothing and to have nothing in myself? This is also why I did not seek my own glory but only that of my Donor and Creator. Therefore, daughter, take refuge in the cloak of my humility and think of yourself as a sinner beyond all others! For, even if you see others who are wicked, you do not know what their future will be like tomorrow; you do not even know their intention or their awareness of what they are doing, whether they do it out of weakness or deliberately. This is why you should not put yourself ahead of anyone and why you must not judge anyone in your heart.”

The Virgin's exhortation to her daughter, complaining about how few her friends are; and about how Christ speaks to the bride and describes his sacred words as flowers and explains who the people are in whom such words are to bear fruit.

Book 2 - Chapter 24

Mary was speaking: ”Imagine a large army somewhere and a person walking alongside it heavily weighed down, carrying a great load on his back and in his arms. With his eyes full of tears, he might look at the army to see if there should be someone to have compassion on him and relieve his burden. That is the way I felt. From the birth of my Son until his death, my life was full of tribulation. I carried a heavy load on my back and persevered steadfastly in God's work and patiently bore everything that happened to me. I endured carrying a most heavy load in my arms, in the sense that I suffered more sorrow of heart and tribulation than any creature.

My eyes were full of tears when I contemplated the places in my Son's body destined for the nails as well as his future passion, and when I saw all the prophesies I had heard foretold by the prophets being fulfilled in him. And now I look around at everyone who is in the world to see if there happens to be some who might have compassion on me and be mindful of my sorrow, but I find very few who think about my sorrow and tribulation. This is why, my daughter, although I am forgotten and neglected by many people, you must not forget me! Look at my struggles and imitate them as far as you can! Contemplate my sorrow and tears and be sorry that the friends of God are so few. Stand firm! Look, my Son is coming.”

He came at once and said: ”I who am speaking with you am your God and Lord. My words are like the flowers of a fine tree. Although all the flowers spring up from the tree's one root, not all of them come to fruition. My words are like flowers that spring up from the root of divine charity. Many people take them, but they do not bear fruit in all of them nor reach maturity in them all. Some people take them and keep them for a time but later reject them, for they are ungrateful to my Spirit. Some take and keep them, for they are full of love, and the fruit of devotion and holy conduct is produced in them.

You, therefore, my bride, who are mine by divine right, must have three houses. In the first, there should be the necessary nourishment to enter the body; in the second the clothes that clothe the body on the outside; in the third the tools necessary for use in the house. In the first there should be three things: first, bread; then drink; and third, meats. In the second house there should be three things: first, linen clothing; then woolen; then the kind made by silkworms. In the third house there should also be three things: first tools and vessels to be filled with liquids; second, living instruments, such as horses and asses and the like, by which bodies can be conveyed; and, third, instruments that are moved by living beings.”

Christ's advice to the bride about the provisions in the three houses, and about how bread stands for a good will, drink for holy forethought, and meats for divine wisdom, and about how there is no divine wisdom in erudition but only in the heart and in a good life.

Book 2 - Chapter 25

“I who am speaking with you am the Creator of all things, created by none. There was nothing before me and there can be nothing after me, since I always was and always am. I am the Lord whose power none can withstand and from whom all power and sovereignty come. I speak to you as a man speaks to his wife: My wife, we should have three houses. In one of them there should be bread and drink and meats. But you might ask: What does this bread mean? Do I mean the bread that is on the altar? This is indeed bread, prior to the words ”This is my body,” but, once the words have been spoken, it is not bread but the body that I took from the Virgin and that was truly crucified on the cross. But here I do not mean that bread. The bread that we should store in our house is a good and sincere will. Physical bread, if it is pure and clean, has two good effects. First, it fortifies and gives strength to all the veins and arteries and muscles. Second, it absorbs any inner impurity, bringing it along for removal as it goes out, and so the person is cleansed. In this way a pure will gives strength.

If a person wishes for nothing but the things of God, works for nothing but the glory of God, desires with every desire to leave the world and to be with God, this intention strengthens him in goodness, increases his love for God, makes the world loathsome to him, fortifies his patience and reinforces his hope of inheriting glory to the extent that he cheerfully embraces everything that happens to him. In the second place, a good will removes every impurity. What is the impurity harmful to the soul if not pride, greed, and lust? However, when the impurity of pride or of some other vice enters the mind, it will leave, provided the person reasons in the following way: 'Pride is meaningless, since it is not the recipient who should be praised for goods given him, but the giver. Greed is meaningless, since all the things of earth will be left behind. Lust is nothing but filth. Therefore I do not desire these things but want to follow the will of my God whose reward will never come to an end, whose good gifts never grow old: Then every temptation to pride or greed will leave him and he will persevere in his good intention of doing good.

The drink we should have in our houses is holy forethought about everything to be done. Physical drink has two good effects. First, it aids good digestion. When a person proposes to do something good and, before doing it, considers to himself and turns carefully over in his mind what glory will come out of it for God, what benefit to his neighbor, what advantage to his soul, and does not want to do it unless he judges there to be some divine usefulness in his work, then that proposed work will turn out well or be, so to speak, well digested. Then, if any indiscretion occurs in the work he is doing, it is quickly detected. If anything is wrong, it is quickly corrected and his work will be upright and rational and edifying for others.

A person who does not show holy forethought in his work and does not seek benefit to souls or the glory of God, even if his work turns out well for a time, nevertheless it will come to nothing in the end. In the second place, drink quenches thirst. What kind of thirst is worse than the sin of base greed and anger? If a person thinks beforehand what usefulness will come of it, how wretchedly it will end, what reward there will be if he makes resistance, then that base thirst is soon quenched through God's grace, zealous love for God and good desires fill him, and joy arises because he has not done what came into his mind. He will examine the occasion and how he can avoid in the future those things by which he was almost tripped up, had he not had forethought, and he will be more careful in the future about avoiding such things. My bride, this is the drink that should be stored in our pantry.

Third, there should also be meats there. These have two effects. First, they taste better in the mouth and are better for the body than just bread alone. Second, they make for tenderer skin and better blood than if there were only bread and drink. Spiritual meat has a like effect. What do these meats symbolize? Divine wisdom, of course. Wisdom tastes very good to a person who has a good will and wants nothing but what God wants, showing holy forethought, doing nothing until he knows it to be for God's glory.

Now, you might ask: 'What is divine wisdom?' For many people are simple and only know one prayer - the Our Father, and not even that correctly. Others are very erudite and have wide knowledge. Is this divine wisdom? By no means. Divine wisdom is not precisely to be found in erudition, but in the heart and a good life. That person is wise who reflects carefully on the path toward death, on how he will die, and on his judgment after death. That person has the meats of wisdom and the taste of a good will and holy forethought, who detaches himself from the vanity and superfluities of the world and contents himself with the bare necessities, and struggles in the love of God according to his abilities.

When a person reflects on his death and on his nakedness at death, when a person examines God's terrible court of judgment, where nothing is hidden and nothing is remitted without a punishment, when he also reflects on the instability and vanity of the world, will he not then rejoice and sweetly savor in his heart the surrender of his will to God together with his abstinence from sins? Is not his body strengthened and his blood improved, that is, is not every weakness of his soul, such as sloth and moral dissolution, driven away and the blood of divine love rejuvenated? This is because he reasons rightly that an eternal good is to be loved rather than a perishable one.

Therefore divine wisdom is not precisely to be found in erudition but in good works, since many are wise in a worldly way and after their own desires but are altogether foolish with regard to God's will and commandments and the disciplining of their body. Such people are not wise but foolish and blind, for they understand perishable things that are useful for the moment, but they despise and forget the things of eternity. Others are foolish with regard to worldly delights and reputation but wise in considering the things that are of God, and they are fervent in his service.

Such people are truly wise, for they savor the precepts and will of God. They have truly been enlightened and keep their eyes open in that they are always considering in what way they may reach true life and light. Others, however, walk in darkness, and it seems to them more delightful to be in darkness than to inquire about the way by which they might come to the light. Therefore, my bride, let us store up these three things in our houses, namely a good will, holy forethought, and divine wisdom. These are the things that give us reason to rejoice. Although I speak my advice to you, by you I mean all my chosen ones in the world, since the righteous soul is my bride, for I am her Creator and Redeemer.”

The Virgin's advice to her daughter about life, and Christ's words to the bride about the clothes that should be kept in the second house, and about how these clothes denote the peace of God and the peace of one's neighbor and works of mercy and pure abstinence, and an excellent explanation of all these things.

Book 2 - Chapter 26

Mary spoke: ”Place the brooch of my Son's passion firmly on yourself, just as St. Lawrence placed it firmly on himself. Each day he used to reflect in his mind as follows: 'My God is my Lord, I am his servant. The Lord Jesus Christ was stripped and mocked. How can it be right for me, his servant, to be clothed in finery? He was scourged and fastened to the wood. It is not right, then, that I, who am his servant, if I really am his servant, should have no pain or tribulation.' When he was stretched out over the coals and liquid fat ran down into the fire and his whole body caught fire, he looked up with his eyes toward heaven and said: 'Blessed are you, Jesus Christ, my God and Creator!

I know I have not lived my days well. I know I have done little for your glory. This is why, seeing that your mercy is great, I ask you to deal with me according to your mercy.' And at this word his soul was separated from his body. Do you see, my daughter? He loved my Son so much and endured such suffering for his glory that he still said he was unworthy of reaching heaven. How then can those people who live by their own desires be worthy? Therefore, keep ever in mind the passion of my Son and of his saints. They did not endure such sufferings for no reason, but in order to give others an example of how to live and to show what a strict payment will be demanded for sins by my Son who does not want there to be the least sin without correction.”

Then the Son came and spoke to the bride, saying: ”I told you earlier what should be stored in our houses. Among other things, there should be clothing of three kinds: first, clothing made of linen, which is produced in and grows from the earth; second, that made of leather, which comes from animals; third, that made of silk, which comes from silkworms. Linen clothing has two good effects. First, it is soft and gentle against the naked body. Second, it does not lose its color, but the more it is washed, the cleaner it becomes. The second kind of clothing, that is, leather, has two effects.

First, it covers a person's shame; second, it provides warmth against the cold. The third kind of clothing, that is, silken, also has two effects. First, it can be seen to be very beautiful and fine; second, it is very expensive to buy. The linen clothes that are good for the naked parts of the body symbolize peace and concord. A devout soul should wear this with respect to God, so that she can be at peace with God both by not wanting anything other than what God wants or in a different way than he wants, and by not exacerbating him through sins, since there is no peace between God and the soul unless she stops sinning and controls her concupiscence.

She should also be at peace with her neighbor, that is, by not causing him problems, by helping him if he has problems, and by being patient if he sins against her. What is a more unfortunate strain on the soul than always to be longing to sin and never to have enough of it, always to be desiring and never at rest? What stings the soul more sharply than to be angry with her neighbor and to envy his goods? This is why the soul should be at peace with God and with her neighbor, since nothing can be more restful than resting from sin and not being anxious about the world, nothing gentler than rejoicing in the good of one's neighbor and wishing for him what one wishes for oneself.

This linen clothing should be worn over the naked parts of the body, because, more properly and importantly than the other virtues, peace should be lodged closer to the heart, which is where God wants to take his rest. This is the virtue that God instills and keeps instilled in the heart. Like linen, this peace is born in and grows from the earth, since true peace and patience spring up from the consideration of one's own weakness. A man who is of the earth ought to consider his own weakness, namely that he is quick to anger if offended, quick to feel pain if hurt. And if he reflects in this way he will not do unto another what he himself cannot bear, reflecting to himself that: 'Just as I am weak, so too is my neighbor.

Just as I do not want to put up with such things, neither does he.' Next, peace does not lose its color, that is, its stability, but stays increasingly constant, since, considering his neighbor's weakness in himself, he becomes more willing to put up with injuries. If a man's peace gets soiled by impatience in any way, it grows ever cleaner and brighter before God the more frequently and quickly it is washed through penance. He also becomes so much the happier and more prudent in toleration, the more often he gets irritated and then gets washed again, since he rejoices in the hope of the reward that he hopes will come to him on account of his inner peace, and he is all the more careful about not letting himself fall due to impatience.

The second kind of clothing, namely leather, denotes works of mercy. These leather clothes are made from the skins of dead animals. What do these animals symbolize if not my saints, who were as simple as animals? The soul should be covered with their skins, that is, she should imitate and carry out their works of mercy. These have two effects. First, they cover the shame of the sinful soul and cleanse her so as not to appear stained in my sight. Second, they defend the soul against the cold. What is the cold of the soul if not the soul's hardness with respect to my love? Works of mercy are effective against such coldness, wrapping the soul so that she does not perish from the cold. Through these works God visits the soul, and the soul comes ever closer to God.

The third kind of clothing, that made of silk by silkworms, which seems very expensive to buy, denotes the pure habit of abstinence. This is beautiful in the sight of God and the angels and men. It is also expensive to buy, since it seems hard to people to restrain their tongue from idle and excessive talk. It seems hard to restrain the appetite of the flesh from superfluous excess and pleasure. It also seems hard to go against one's own will. But although it may be hard, it is in every way useful and beautiful. This is why, my bride, in whom I mean all the faithful, in our second house we should store up peace toward God and neighbor, works of mercy through compassion on and help for the wretched, and abstinence from concupiscence.

Although the latter is more expensive than the rest, it is also so much more beautiful than the other clothes that no other virtue seems beautiful without it. This abstinence should be produced by silkworms, that is, by the consideration of one's excesses against God, by humility, and by my own example of abstinence, for I became like a worm for the sake of humankind. A person should examine in his spirit how and how often he has sinned against me and in what way he has made amends. Then he will discover by himself that no amount of toil and abstinence on his part can make amends for the number of times he has sinned against me.

He should also ponder my sufferings and those of my saints as well as the reason why I endured such sufferings. Then he will truly understand that, if I demand such a strict repayment from my saints, who have obeyed me, how much more I will demand in vengeance from those who have not obeyed me. A good soul should therefore readily undertake to practice abstinence, recalling that her sins are evil and surround the soul like worms. Thus, from these low worms she will collect precious silk, that is, the pure habit of abstinence in all her limbs. God and all the host of heaven rejoice in this. Eternal joy will be awarded to the person storing this up who would otherwise have had eternal grief, had abstinence not come to his assistance.”

Christ's words to the bride about the instruments in the third house, and about how such instruments symbolize good thoughts, disciplined senses, and true confession; there is also given an excellent explanation of all these things in general and about the locks of these houses.

Book 2 - Chapter 27

The Son of God spoke to the bride, saying: ”I told you earlier that there should be instruments of three kinds in the third house. First, instruments or vessels into which liquids are poured. Second, instruments with which the land outside is prepared, such as hoes and axes and tools for repairing things that get broken. Third, living instruments, such as asses and horses and the like for conveying both the living and the dead. In the first house, where there are liquids, there should be two kinds of instruments or vessels: first those into which sweet and fluid substances are poured, such as water and oil and wine and the like; second, those into which pungent or thick substances are poured, such as mustard and flour and the like. Do you understand what these things signify? The liquids refer to the good and bad thoughts of the soul.

A good thought is like sweet oil and like delicious wine. A bad thought is like bitter mustard that makes the soul bitter and base. Bad thoughts are like the thick liquids that a person sometimes needs. Although they are not much good for nourishing the body, still they are beneficial for the purgation and curing of both body and brain. Although bad thoughts do not fatten and heal the soul like the oil of good thoughts, still they are good for the purgation of the soul, just as mustard is good for the purgation of the brain. If bad thoughts did not sometimes get in the way, human beings would be angels and not human, and they would think they got everything from themselves.

Therefore, in order that a man might understand his weakness, which comes from himself, and the strength that comes from me, it is sometimes necessary that my great mercy allows him to be tempted by bad thoughts. So long as he does not consent to them, they are a purgation for the soul and a protection for his virtues. Although they may be as pungent to take as mustard, still they are very healing for the soul and lead it toward eternal life and toward the kind of health that cannot be gained without some bitterness. Therefore, let the vessels of the soul, where the good thoughts are placed, be carefully prepared and always kept clean, since it is useful that even bad thoughts arise both as a trial and for the sake of gaining greater merit. However, the soul should strive diligently so as not to consent to them or delight in them. Otherwise the sweetness and the development of the soul will be lost and only bitterness will remain.

In the second house there should also be instruments of two kinds: first, outdoor instruments, such as the plow and the hoe, to prepare the ground outside for sowing and to root up brambles; second, instruments useful for both indoor and outdoor purposes, such as axes and the like. The instruments for cultivating the soil symbolize the human senses. These should be used for the benefit of one's neighbor just as the plow is used on the soil. Bad people are like the soil of the earth, for they are always thinking in an earthly fashion. They are barren of compunction for their sins, because they think nothing is a sin. They are cold in their love for God, because they seek nothing but their own will.

They are heavy and sluggish when it comes to doing good, because they are eager for worldly reputation. This is why a good person should cultivate them through his exterior senses, just as a good farmer cultivates the earth with a plow. First, he should cultivate them with his mouth, by saying things to them that are useful for the soul and by instructing them about the path to life; next, by doing the good deeds he can. His neighbor can be formed in this way by his words and motivated to do good. Next, he should cultivate his neighbor by means of the rest of his body in order that he may bear fruit.

He does this through his innocent eyes that do not look on unchaste things, so that his unchaste neighbor may also learn modesty in his whole body. He should cultivate him by means of his ears that do not listen to unsuitable things as well by means of his feet that are quick to do the work of God. I, God, shall give the rain of my grace to the soil thus cultivated by the work of the cultivator, and the laborer shall rejoice over the fruit of the once barren earth as it begins to put forth shoots.

The instruments needed for indoor preparations, such as the ax and similar tools, signify a discerning intention and the holy examination of one's work. Whatever good a person does should not be done for the sake of reputation and human praise but out of love for God and for the sake of an eternal reward. This is why a person should carefully examine his works and with what intention and for what reward he has done them. If he should discover any kind of pride in his works, let him immediately cut it out with the ax of discretion.

In this way, just as he cultivates his neighbor who is, as it were, outside the house, that is, outside the company of my friends due to his bad deeds, so too he may bear fruit for himself on the inside through divine love. Just as the work of a farmer will soon come to naught if he has no instruments with which to repair things that have been broken, so too, unless a person examines his work with discernment, and how it may be lightened if it is too burdensome or how it may be improved if it has failed, he will achieve no results. Accordingly, one should not only work effectively outdoors, one must also consider attentively on the inside how and with what intention one works.

There should be living instruments in the third house to convey the living and the dead, such as horses and asses and other animals. These instruments signify true confession. This conveys both living and dead. What does living denote if not the soul that has been created by my divinity and lives forever? This soul comes closer and closer to God each day through a true confession. Just as an animal becomes a stronger beast of burden and more beautiful to behold the more often and better it is fed, so too confession - the more often it is used and the more carefully it is made as to both lesser and greater sins - conveys the soul increasingly forward and is so pleasing to God that it leads the soul to God's very heart. What are the dead things conveyed by confession, if not the good works that die through mortal sin? Good works dying through mortal sins are dead in the sight of God, for nothing good can please God unless sin is first corrected either through a perfect intention or in deed.

It is not good to combine sweet-smelling and stinking substances in the same vessel. If anyone kills his good works through mortal sins and makes a true confession of his crimes with the intention to improve and to avoid sin in the future, his good works, which earlier were dead, come to life again through confession and the virtue of humility and they gain him merit for eternal salvation. If he dies without making confession, although his good works cannot die or be destroyed but cannot merit eternal life due to mortal sin, still they can merit a lighter punishment for him or contribute to the salvation of others, provided he has done the good works with a holy intention and for the glory of God. However, if he has done the works for the sake of worldly glory and his own benefit, then his works will die when their doer dies, inasmuch as he has received his reward from the world on whose behalf he labored.

Therefore, my bride, by whom I mean all my friends, we should store up in our houses those things that give rise to the spiritual delight God wants to have with a holy soul. In the first house, we should store, first, the bread of a sincere will that wants nothing but what God wants; second, the drink of holy forethought by not doing anything unless it is thought to be for God's glory; third, the meats of divine wisdom by always thinking on the life to come and on how the present should be ordered.

In the second house, let us store up the peace of not sinning against God and the peace of not quarreling with our neighbor; second, works of mercy through which we may be of practical benefit to our neighbor; third, perfect abstinence by which we restrain those things that tend to disturb our peace. In the third house, we should store up wise and good thoughts in order to decorate our home on the inside; second, temperate, well-disciplined senses to be a light for our neighbors on the outside; third, true confession that helps us to revive, should we grow weak.

Though we have the houses, the things stored in them cannot be kept safe without doors, and doors cannot swing without hinges or be locked without locks. This is why, in order that the stored goods be kept safe, the house needs the door of steadfast hope so as not to be broken down by adversity. This hope should have two hinges in order that a person may not despair of achieving glory or of escaping punishment, but always in every adversity have the hope of better things, being confident in the mercy of God. The lock should be divine charity that secures the door against the entrance of the enemy.

What good is it to have a door without a lock, or hope without love? If someone hopes for eternal rewards and in the mercy of God, but does not love and fear God, he has a door without a lock through which his mortal enemy can enter whenever he likes and kill him. But true hope is when a person who hopes also does the good deeds he can. Without these good deeds he cannot attain heaven, that is, if he knew and was able to do them but did not want to.

If anyone realizes that he has committed a transgression or has not done what he could, he should make the good resolution of doing what good he can. As to what he cannot do, let him hope firmly that he will be able to come to God thanks to his good intention and love for God. So, let the door of hope be secured with divine charity in such away that, just as a lock has many catches inside to prevent the enemy from opening it, this charity for God should also entail the concern not to offend God, the loving fear of being separated from him, the fiery zeal to see God loved, and the desire to see him imitated. It should also entail sorrow, for a person is not able to do as much as he would like or knows he is obliged to do, and humility, which makes a person think nothing of all that he accomplishes in comparison to his sins.

Let the lock be made strong by these catches, so that the devil cannot easily open the lock of charity and insert his own love. The key to open and close the lock should be the desire for God alone, along with divine charity and holy works, so that a person does not wish to have anything except God, even if he can get it, and all this because of his great charity. This desire encloses God in the soul and the soul in God, since their wills are one.

The wife and husband alone should have this key, that is, God and the soul, so that, as often as God wants to come in and enjoy good things, namely the virtues of the soul, he may have free access with the key of stable desire; as often again as the soul wants to go into the heart of God, she may do so freely, since she desires nothing but God. This key is kept by the vigilance of the soul and the custody of her humility, by which she ascribes every good she has to God. And this key is kept also by the power and charity of God, lest the soul be overturned by the devil.
Behold, my bride, what love God has for souls! Stand therefore firm and do my will!”

Christ's words to the bride about his unchanging nature and about how his words are accomplished, even if they are not immediately followed by deeds; and about how our will should be wholly entrusted to God's will.

Book 2 - Chapter 28

The Son spoke to the bride, saying: ”Why are you so upset because that man claimed my words were false? Am I worse off because of his disparagement or would I be better off because of his praise? I am, of course, unchangeable and can become neither greater nor less, and I have no need of praise. A person who praises me does gain a benefit from his praise of me, not for me but for himself. I am truth, and falsehood never proceeds or can proceed from my lips, since everything I have said through the prophets or other friends of mine, whether in spirit or in body, is accomplished as I intended it at the time.

My words were not false if I said one thing at one time, another at another time, first something more explicit, then something more obscure. The explanation is that, in order to prove the reliability of my faith as well as the zeal of my friends, I revealed much that could be understood in different ways, both well and badly, by good and bad people according to the different effects of my Spirit, thus giving them the possibility of carrying out different good acts in their different circumstances.

Just as I assumed a human nature into one person in my divine nature, so too I have also spoken at times through my human nature as being subject to my divine nature, but at other times through my divine nature as the Creator of my human nature, as is clear from my gospel. And in this way, although ignorant people or detractors might see divergent meanings in them, still they are true words in agreement with truth. It was also not unreasonable for me to have handed down some things in an obscure manner, since it was right that my plan should in some way be hidden from the wicked, and at the same time that all good people should eagerly hope for my grace and obtain the reward for their hope. Otherwise, if it had been implied that my plan would come about at a specific point in time, then everyone would have given up both their hopes and their charity due to the great length of time.

I also promised a number of things that, however, did not occur because of the ingratitude of the people then living. Had they left off their evildoing, I would certainly have given them what I had promised. This is why you ought not be upset over claims that my words are lies. For what seems to be humanly impossible is possible for me. My friends are also surprised that the words are not followed up by deeds. But this, again, is not unreasonable.

Was not Moses sent to Pharaoh? Yet signs did not immediately follow. Why? Because, if the signs and portents had immediately followed, neither the hardheartedness of Pharaoh nor the power of God would have been manifested nor would the miracles have been clearly shown. Pharaoh would still have been condemned for his own wickedness, even if Moses had not come, although his hardheartedness would not have been so manifest. This is also what is happening now. So, be brave! The plow, though drawn by oxen, is still steered by the will of the plowman. Likewise, although you may hear and know my words, they do not turn out or get accomplished according to your will, but according to mine. For I know the lay of the land and how it should be cultivated. But you should entrust all your will to me and say: 'May your will be done!' ”

John the Baptist admonishes the bride through a parable in which God is symbolized by a magpie, the soul by its chicks, the body by its nest, worldly pleasures by wild animals, pride by birds of prey, worldly mirth by a snare.

Book 2 - Chapter 29

John the Baptist spoke to the bride, saying: ”The Lord Jesus has called you out of darkness into light, from impurity into perfect purity, from a narrow into a broad place. Who is able to explain these gifts or how could you thank him as much as you should for them? Just do all that you can! There is a kind of bird called a magpie. She loves her chicks, because the eggs from which the chicks came were once in her womb. This bird makes a nest for herself out of old and used things for three purposes.

First, as a resting place; second, as a shelter from rain and heavy drought; third, in order to feed her young when they are hatched from the eggs. The bird hatches her young by lovingly settling herself on top of the eggs. When the chicks are born, the mother entices them to fly in three ways. First, by the distribution of food; second, by her solicitous voice; third, by the example of her own flying. Since they love their mother, the chicks, once they have got used to their mother's food, first travel little by little beyond the nest with their mother leading the way. Then they go further away as their strength allows, until they become accomplished in the use and skill of flight.

This bird stands for God, who exists eternally and never changes. From the womb of his divinity all rational souls proceed. A nest is prepared for each soul out of used things, inasmuch as the soul is joined to a body of earth through which God nourishes it with the food of good affections, defends it from the birds of evil thoughts, and gives it respite from the rain of bad actions. Each soul is joined to the body in order that it may rule the body and nowise be ruled by it and so that it may spur the body to struggle and provide for it intelligently. Thus, like a good mother, God teaches the soul to advance toward better things, and teaches it to leave its confinement for broader spaces. First, he feeds it by giving it intelligence and reason according to each one's capacity, and by pointing out to the mind what it should choose and what it should avoid.

As the magpie first leads its chicks beyond the nest, so too the human person first learns to think thoughts of heaven, and also to think how confined and base the nest of the body is, how bright the heavens and how delightful eternal things are. God also leads the soul out with his voice when he calls: 'He who follows me will have life; he who loves me will not die.' This voice leads toward heaven. Anyone who does not hear it is either deaf or ungrateful for his mother's love. Third, God leads the soul out through his own flying, that is, through the example of his human nature. This glorious human nature had, as it were, two wings. Its first wing was that there was only purity and no defilement in it; its second wing was that he did all things well. Upon these two wings God's human nature flew through the world. For this reason, the soul should follow them as far as it can, and if it cannot do so in deeds, let it at least try to do so in intention.

When the young chick is flying, it has to beware of three dangers. The first is wild animals. It must not land next to them on the ground, because the chick is not as strong as they are. Second, it must beware of birds of prey, since the chick does not yet fly as swiftly as those birds do, which is why it is safer to stay in hiding. Third, it should take care not to be lured by a baited snare. The wild animals that I mentioned are worldly pleasures and appetites. The young chick should beware of them, for they seem good to know, fine to own, beautiful to behold. But when you think you have got hold of them, they quickly go away. When you think they give you pleasure, they bite you without mercy.

In the second place, the chick should beware of birds of prey. These represent pride and ambition. These are the birds that always want to rise higher and higher and to be ahead of the other birds and hate all those behind them. The chick should beware of them and should want to remain in humble hiding, so that it does not grow proud of the grace it has received or despise those that are behind it and have less grace, and does not think itself better than others. Third, the chick should beware of being lured by a baited snare. This represents worldly mirth. It may seem good to have laughter on one's lips and pleasant sensations in one's body, but there is a barb in these things. Immoderate laughter leads to immoderate mirth, and the pleasure of the body leads to inconstancy of mind, which gives rise to sadness, either at death or earlier, along with distress. You should therefore hurry, my daughter, to leave your nest through the desire for heaven! Beware of the beasts of desire and the birds of pride! Beware of the bait of empty mirth!”

Then the Mother spoke to the bride and said: ”Beware of the bird that is daubed with pitch, for anyone who touches it gets stained. This represents worldly ambition, unstable as the air, repulsive in its way of seeking favor and keeping bad company. Care nothing for honors, do not bother about favors, pay no attention to praise or reproach! From these things come inconstancy of soul and the lessening of love for God. Be steadfast! God, who has begun to bring you out of the nest, will keep nourishing you until death. After death, however, you will hunger no more. He will also protect you from sorrow and defend you in life, and after death you will have nothing to fear.”

The Mother's entreaty to her Son for his bride and for another holy person, and about how the Mother's entreaty is received by Christ, and about certainty regarding the truth or falsity of a person's holiness in this life.

Book 2 - Chapter 30

Mary spoke to her Son saying: ”My Son, grant your new bride the gift that your most worthy body may take root in her heart, so that she herself may be changed into you and be filled with your delight!” Then she said: ”This holy man, when he was living in time, was as steadfast in the holy faith as a mountain unbroken by adversity, undistracted by pleasure. He was as flexible toward your will as the moving air, wherever the force of your Spirit led him. He was as ardent in your love as fire, warming those grown cold and overtaking the wicked. Now his soul is with you in glory, but the vessel he used is buried and lies in a more humble place than is fitting. Therefore, my Son, raise his body up to a higher station, do it honor, for it honored you in its own small way, raise it up, for it raised you up on high as much as it could by means of its toil!”

The Son answered: ”Blessed are you, who overlook nothing in the affairs of your friends. You see, Mother, it is no use for good food to be given to wolves. It is not right to bury in mud the sapphire that keeps all the members healthy and strengthens the weak. It is no use to light a candle for the blind. This man was indeed steadfast in faith and fervent in charity, just as he was ready to do my will with the greatest of continence. Therefore, he tastes to me like good food prepared through patience and tribulation, sweet and good in the goodness of his will and affections, even better in his manly struggles to improve, excellent and most sweet in his praiseworthy way of finishing his works. Therefore it is not right for such food to be lifted up before wolves, whose greed is never sated, whose lust for pleasure flees from the herbs of virtue and thirsts for rotten meat, whose shrewd speech is harmful to everyone.

He resembled the sapphire of a ring through the brightness of his life and reputation, proving himself to be a bridegroom of his church, a friend of his Lord, a preserver of the holy faith and a scorner of the world. Therefore, dear Mother, it is not right for such a lover of virtue and so pure a bridegroom to be touched by impure creatures, or for so humble a friend to be handled by lovers of the world. In the third place, by his fulfillment of my commandments and by the teaching of a good life, he was like a lamp on a lampstand. Through this teaching, he strengthened those who were standing, lest they fall. Through this teaching he raised up those who were falling down. Through it he also offered inspiration to those who would come after him to seek me.

They are unworthy to see this light, blinded as they are by their own love. They are unable to perceive this light, for their eyes are sick with pride. People with scabby hands cannot touch this light. This light is hateful to the greedy and to those who love their own will. This is why, before he can be raised up to a higher station, justice requires those who are unclean to be purified and those who are blind to be enlightened.

However, regarding that man whom the people of the earth are calling a saint, three things show that he was not holy. The first is that he did not imitate the life of the saints before he died; second, that he was not joyfully ready to suffer martyrdom for God's sake; third, that he did not have an ardent and discerning charity like the saints. Three things make someone appear holy to the crowd. The first is the lie of a deceiving and ingratiating man; the second is the easy credulity of the foolish; the third is the cupidity and lukewarmness of prelates and examiners. Whether he is in hell or in purgatory is not given you to know until the time comes for telling it.”

Warnings and instructions to the bishop about how to eat and dress and pray, and about how he should behave before meals, at meals, and after meals, and likewise about his sleep and how he should carry out the office of bishop always and everywhere.

Book 3 - Chapter 1

“Jesus Christ, God and man, who came to earth in order to take on a human nature and save souls through his blood, who disclosed the true way to heaven and opened its gates, he himself has sent me to all of you. Hear, daughter, you to whom it has been given to hear spiritual truths. If this bishop proposes to walk the narrow path taken by few and to be one of those few, let him first lay aside the burden that besets him and weighs him down - I mean his worldly desires - by using the world only for needs consistent with the modest sustenance of a bishop. This is what that good man Matthew did when he was called by God.

Leaving behind the heavy burden of the world, he found a light burden. In the second place, the bishop should be girded for the journey, to use the words of scripture. Tobias was ready for his journey when he found the angel standing there girded. What does it mean to say that the angel was girded? It means that every bishop should be girded with the belt of justice and divine charity, ready to walk the same path as he who said: 'I am the good shepherd and I lay down my life for my sheep.' He should be ready to speak the truth in his words, ready to perform justice in his actions both regarding himself and regarding others, not neglecting justice due to threats and taunts or false friendships or empty fears. To each bishop thus girded shall Tobias, that is, the righteous, come and they shall follow on his path.

In the third place, he should eat bread and water before he undertakes his journey, just as we read about Elijah, who, aroused from sleep, found bread and water at his head. What is this bread given to the prophet if not the material and spiritual goods bestowed upon him? For material bread was given to him in the desert as a lesson. Although God could have sustained the prophet without material food, he wanted material bread to be prepared for him so that people might understand it to be God's wish that they make use of God's good gifts in temperate fashion for the solace of the body. Moreover, an infusion of the Spirit inspired the prophet when he went on for forty days in the strength of that food. For, if no interior unction of grace had been inspired in his mind, he would certainly have given up during the toil of those forty days, for in himself he was weak but in God he had the strength to complete such a journey.

Therefore, inasmuch as man lives by God's every word, we urge the bishop to take the morsel of bread, that is, to love God above all things. He will find this morsel at his head, in the sense that his own reason tells him that God is to be loved above all things and before all things, both because of creation and redemption and also because of his enduring patience and goodness. We bid him also to drink a little water, that is, to think inwardly on the bitterness of Christ's passion. Who is worthy enough to be able to meditate on the agony of Christ's human nature, which he was suffering at the moment when he prayed for the chalice of the passion to be taken from him and when drops of his blood were flowing to the ground? The bishop should drink this water together with the bread of charity and he will be strengthened for journeying along the path of Jesus Christ.
Once the bishop has set out on the path to salvation, if he wants to make further progress, it is useful for him to give thanks to God with all his heart from the very first hour of the day, considering his own actions carefully and asking God for help to carry out his will.

Then, when he is getting dressed, he should pray in this manner: 'Ashes must with ashes be, dust with dust. Yet, since I am bishop by the providence of God, I am putting these clothes made from the dust of the earth on you, my body, not for the sake of beauty or ostentation but as a covering, so that your nakedness might not be seen. Nor do I care whether your clothing is better or worse, but only that the bishop's habit should be acknowledged out of reverence for God, and that through his habit the bishop's authority may be recognized for the correction and instruction of others. And so, kind God, I beg you to give me steadfastness of mind so that I do not take pride in my precious ashes and dust nor foolishly glory in the colors of mere dust. Grant me fortitude so that, just as a bishop's garb is more distinguished and respected than that of others due to his divine authority, the garb of my soul may be acceptable before God, lest I be thrust down all the deeper for having held authority in an undistinguished and unworthy manner or lest I be ignominiously stripped for having foolishly worn my venerable garb to my own damnation.'

After that he should read or sing the hours. The higher the rank a person rises to, the more glory he or she should render to God. However, a pure heart pleases God just as much in silence as in singing, provided a person is occupied with other righteous and useful tasks. After Mass has been said, the bishop should fulfill his episcopal duties, taking diligent care not to give more attention to material things than to spiritual. When he comes to the dinner table, this should be his thought: 'O Lord Jesus Christ, you command that the corruptible body be sustained with material food, help me to give my body what it needs in such a way that the flesh does not grow shamelessly insolent against the soul due to superfluous eating nor sluggish in your service out of imprudent abstinence.

Inspire in me a suitable moderation so that when this man of earth nourishes himself with things of the earth, the Lord of the earth may not be provoked to anger by his creature of earth.' While at table, the bishop is allowed to have the kind of moderate refreshment and conversation in which foolish vanity is avoided and no word is uttered or heard that may offer the hearers an occasion of sin. Rather, it should all be proper and salutary.

If bread and wine are missing from the material table, everything loses its taste; in the same way, if good doctrine and exhortation are missing from the episcopal and spiritual table, everything set on it seems tasteless to the soul. And so, in order to avoid any occasion of frivolity, something should be read or recited at table that can be of profit to those seated there. When the meal is ended and the thanksgiving blessing has been prayed to God, the bishop should plan what he has to do or read books that can lead him on toward spiritual perfection. After dinner, though, he may entertain himself with the companions of his household. However, just as a mother giving milk to her baby anoints her nipples with ashes or some other bitter substance until she weans the baby from milk and accustoms it to solid foods, so too the bishop should bring his companions closer to God through the kind of conversation by which they may come to fear and love God, becoming in this way not only their father through the divine authority in him but also their mother through the spiritual formation he gives them.

If he is consciously aware that anyone in his household is in the state of mortal sin and has not repented despite admonishments, then he should separate himself from him. If he retains him out of convenience and temporal consolation, he will have no immunity from the other's sin. When he goes to bed, he should carefully examine the deeds and impressions of the day that has gone, thinking the following thoughts: 'O God, Creator of my body and soul, look on me in your mercy.

Grant me your grace, so that I do not grow lukewarm in your service by oversleeping nor grow weak in your service due to disturbed sleep, but grant me for your glory that measure of sleep that you have prescribed for us in order to give the body rest. Give me fortitude so that my enemy, the devil, may not disturb me nor drag me away from your goodness.' When he gets up out of bed, he should wash away in confession any lapses that the flesh may have suffered, so that the sleep of the following night might not begin with the sins of the previous.”

The Virgin's words to her daughter about the opportune solution to the difficulties meeting the bishop on the narrow path, and about how patience is symbolized by clothing and the Ten Commandments by ten fingers, and the longing for eternity and the distaste for worldliness by two feet, and about three enemies to the bishop along his way.

Book 3 - Chapter 2

Again the Mother of God speaks: ”Tell the bishop that, if he sets out on this path, he will meet with three difficulties. The first difficulty is that it is a narrow path; the second, that there are sharp thorns on it; the third, that it is a rocky and uneven path. I will give you three pieces of advice in this regard. The first is that the bishop should wear rugged and tightly knit clothes in preparation for the narrow path. The second is that he should hold his ten fingers in front of his eyes and look through them as through bars so as not to be scratched by the thorns.

The third is that he should step cautiously and test each and every step he takes to see if his foot gets a firm hold when he sets it down, and he should not hastily set down both feet at the same time without first assuring himself of the condition of the path. This narrow path symbolizes nothing other than the malice of wicked people toward the righteous, the kind of people who deride righteous deeds and pervert the paths and upright warnings of the righteous, who give little weight to anything having to do with humility and piety. In order to confront such people the bishop should clothe himself in the garment of steadfast patience, since patience makes burdens pleasant and joyfully accepts the insults it receives.

The thorns symbolize nothing other than the hardships of the world. In order to confront them, the ten fingers of God's commandments and counsels should be held up so that, when the thorn of hardship and poverty scratches him, he may recall the sufferings and poverty of Christ. When the thorn of anger and envy scratches him, he should recall the love of God that we are commanded to keep. True love does not insist on getting what is its own, but opens itself up wholly to the glory of God and the benefit of one's neighbor.

That the bishop ought to step cautiously means that he should everywhere have an attitude of intelligent caution. For a good person should have two feet, so to speak. One foot is a longing for eternity. The other is a distaste for the world. His longing for eternity should be circumspect, in the sense that he must not long for eternal things for himself alone as though he were worthy of them; rather, he should place all his longing and desire as well as his reward in the hands of God. His distaste for the world should be cautious and full of fear, in the sense that this distaste must not be the result of his hardships in the world or impatience with life nor should it be for the sake of living a quieter life or being released from carrying out work beneficial to others. Rather, it should only be the result of his abhorrence of sin and his longing for eternity.

Once these three difficulties have been overcome, I would warn the bishop about three enemies on his path. You see, the first enemy tries to whistle in the bishop's ears so as to block his hearing. The second stands in front of him in order to scratch out his eyes. The third enemy is at his feet, shouting loudly and holding a noose in order to ensnare his feet when he lifts them off the ground. The first are those people or those impulses that try to draw the bishop away from the right path, saying: 'Why do you take so much work on yourself and why are you making your way on so narrow a path? Go off instead to the verdant path where so many people are walking. What does it matter to you how this person or those people behave? Why do you bother to offend or censure those people who could honor and appreciate you? If they do not offend you and those close to you, what do you care how they live or whether they are offending God? If you yourself are a good man, why do you bother to be judging others? Better to exchange gifts and services! Make use of human friendships in order to win praise and a good reputation during your lifetime.'

The second enemy wants to blind you like the Philistines did Samson. This enemy is worldly beauty and possessions, sumptuous clothing, the various trappings of pomp, human privileges and favors. When such things are presented to you and please the eyes, reason is blinded, love for God's commandments grows lukewarm, sin is carried out freely and, once committed, is taken lightly. Therefore, when the bishop has a moderate supply of necessary goods, he should be content. For all too many people nowadays find it more pleasant to stand around with Samson at the millstone of desire rather than to love the church with a praiseworthy disposition for pastoral ministry.

The third enemy shouts loudly and carries a noose and says: 'Why are you walking with such caution and with your head bowed down? Why do you humble yourself so much, you who should be and could be honored by many people? Be a priest so as to sit among those of the first rank! Be a bishop so as to be honored by the many! Advance to higher ranks in order to obtain better service and enjoy greater relaxation! Store up a treasure with which you can help yourself as well as others and be comforted by others in return and happy wherever you are!'

When the heart becomes inclined to such feelings and suggestions, the mind soon steps toward earthly appetites, lifting as it were the foot of base desire, with which it gets so entangled in the trap of worldly care that it can scarcely rise up to the consideration of its own wretchedness or to that of the rewards and punishments of eternity. Nor is this surprising, since scripture says that whoever aspires to the office of bishop desires a noble task for the honor of God. Now, however, there are many who want the honors but shirk the task in which is found the eternal salvation of the soul. This is why this bishop should stay in the position that he holds and not seek a higher one, until it pleases God to give him another.”

A complete explanation to the bishop from the Virgin about how he should exercise his episcopal office in order to give glory to God, and about the double reward for having held the rank of bishop in a true way and about the double disgrace for having held it in a false way, and about how Jesus Christ and all the saints welcome a true and up right bishop.

Book 3 - Chapter 3

The Mother of God was speaking: ”I wish to explain to the bishop what he should do for God and what will give glory to God. Every bishop must hold his miter carefully in his arms. He must not sell it for money nor give it up to others for the sake of worldly friendship nor lose it through negligence and lukewarmness. The bishop's miter signifies nothing other than the bishop's rank and power to ordain priests, to prepare the chrism, to correct those who go astray, and to encourage the negligent by his example. To hold his miter carefully in his arms means that he should reflect carefully on how and why he received his episcopal power, how he wields it, and what its effects and purpose are.

If the bishop would examine how he received his power, he should first examine whether he desired the episcopate for his own sake or for God's. If it was for his own sake, then his desire was no doubt carnal; if it was for God's sake, that is, in order to give glory to God, then his desire was meritorious and spiritual.
If the bishop would consider for what purpose he has received the episcopate, then surely it was in order that he might become a father to the poor and a consoler and intercessor for souls, because the bishop's goods are intended for the good of souls. If his means are consumed inefficaciously and wasted in a prodigal manner, then those souls will cry out for revenge on the unjust steward. I will tell you the reward that will come from having held the rank of bishop. It will be a double reward, as Paul says, both corporal and spiritual.

It will be corporal, because he is God's vicar on earth and is therefore accorded divine honor by men as away of honoring God. In heaven it will be corporal and spiritual because of the glorification of body and soul, because the servant will be there with his Lord, due both to the way he lived as a bishop on earth and to his humble example by which he incited others to the glory of heaven along with himself. Everyone who has the rank and garb of a bishop but flees the episcopal way of life will merit a double disgrace.

That the bishop's power is not to be sold means that the bishop should not knowingly commit simony or exercise his office for the sake of money or human favor or promote men whom he knows to be of bad character because people petition him to do so. That the miter should not be given up to others on account of human friendship means that the bishop should not disguise the sins of the negligent or let those whom he can and should correct go unpunished, or pass over the sins of his friends in silence due to worldly friendship or take the sins of his subordinates on his own back, for the bishop is God's sentinel.

That the bishop should not lose his miter through negligence means that the bishop should not delegate to others what he should and can do more profitably himself, that he should not, for the sake of his own physical ease, transfer to others what he himself is more perfectly able to carry out, since the bishop's duty is not to rest but to work. Nor should the bishop be ignorant of the life and conduct of those to whom he delegates his tasks. Instead he should know and review how they observe justice and whether they conduct themselves prudently and without cupidity in their assignments. I want you to know, too, that the bishop, in his role as shepherd, ought to carry a bouquet of flowers under his arms in order to entice sheep both far and near to run gladly after its scent.

This bouquet of flowers signifies the bishop's pious preaching. The two arms from which the bouquet of divine preaching hangs are two kinds of works necessary to a bishop, namely, public good works and hidden good works. Thus, the nearby sheep in his diocese, seeing the bishop's charity in his works and hearing it in his words, will give glory to God through the bishop. Likewise, the faraway sheep, hearing of the bishop's reputation, will want to follow him. This is the sweetest bouquet: not to be ashamed of God's truth and humility, to preach good doctrine and to practice as one preaches, to be humble when praised and devout in humiliation. When the bishop has traveled to the end of this path and reaches the gate, he must have a gift in his hands to present to the high king. Accordingly, may he have in his hands a vessel precious to him, an empty one, to offer to the high king.

The empty vessel to be offered is his own heart. He must struggle night and day in order for it to be empty of all lusts and the desire for fleeting praise. When such a bishop is led into the kingdom of glory, Jesus Christ, true God and man, will come out to meet him together with the whole host of saints. Then he will hear the angels saying: 'Our God, our joy and every good! This bishop was pure in body, manly in his conduct. It is befitting that we should present him to you, for he longed for our company everyday. Satisfy his longing and magnify our joy at his coming!' Then, too, other saints will say: 'O God, our joy is both from you and in you and we need nothing else.

Yet, our joy is heightened by the joy of the soul of this bishop who longed for you while he was still able to long. The sweet flowers of his lips increased our numbers. The flowers of his works consoled those dwelling far and near. Therefore, let him rejoice with us, and rejoice yourself over him for whom you longed so much when you died for him.' Finally the King of glory shall say to him: 'Friend, you have come to present to me the vessel of your heart emptied of your selfish will. Therefore, I will fill you with my delight and glory. My happiness will be yours and your glory in me will never cease.' ”

The Mother's words to her daughter about the covetousness of bad bishops; she explains in a long parable that many persons through their good intentions attain the spiritual rank that intemperate bishops reject despite having been called to it in a physical sense.

Book 3 - Chapter 4

The Mother of God speaks to the Son's bride saying: ”You are crying because God loves people so much but people love God so little. So it is. Where, indeed, is that ruler or bishop who does not covet his office in order to obtain worldly honors and wealth but, rather, desires it in order to help the poor with his own hands? Since rulers and bishops do not want to come to the wedding feast prepared for everyone in heaven, the poor and weak will come instead, as I will show you by way of an example.

In a certain city lived a wise, handsome, and wealthy bishop who was praised for his wisdom and handsome looks, but did not, as he ought to, return thanks to God who had given him that very wisdom. He was praised and honored for his wealth, too, and he handed out numerous gifts with a view to worldly favor. He longed for even greater possessions so as to be able to give more gifts and win greater honor. This bishop had a learned priest in his diocese who thought to himself as follows: 'This bishop,' he said, 'loves God less than he should. His whole life tends toward worldliness.

Therefore, if it is pleasing to God, I would like to have his episcopate in order to give glory to God. I do not desire it for worldly reasons, seeing that worldly honor is but empty air, nor for the sake of wealth, which is as heavy as the heaviest of burdens, nor for the sake of physical rest and comfort, since I only need a reasonable amount of rest so as to keep my body fit for God's service. No, I desire it for the sake of God alone. And, although I am unworthy of any honor, still, in order to win more souls for God and to benefit more people by my word and example and to support more people through church revenues, I would gladly take on the burdensome task of being bishop.

God knows that I would rather die a painful death or put up with bitter hardships than to have the rank of bishop. I am as susceptible to suffering as the next man, but, still, he who aspires to the office of bishop desires a noble task. For this reason, I readily desire the honorable title of bishop along with a bishop's burden, although I do so in the same way as I desire death. I desire the honor as a means to saving more souls. I desire the burden for my own salvation and in order to show my love for God and souls. I desire the office for the sole purpose of being able to distribute the goods of the church to the poor more generously, to instruct souls more outspokenly, to instruct those in error more boldly, to mortify my flesh more completely, to exercise self-control more assiduously as an example to others.'

This canon prudently reproved his bishop in private. However, the bishop took it badly and embarrassed the priest in public, imprudently boasting of his own competence and moderation in everything. The canon, however, saddened over the bishop's improprieties, bore the insults with patience. But the bishop ridiculed the charity and patience of the canon and spoke against him so much that the canon was given the blame and thought to be a lying fool, while the bishop was seen as being just and circumspect.

At length, as time went by, both the bishop and the canon passed away and were called to God's judgment. In his sight and in the presence of the angels, a golden throne appeared with the miter and insignia of a bishop next to it. A large number of demons were following the canon, desirous of finding some fatal fault in him. As to the bishop, they felt as sure about having him as a whale does of the calves that she keeps alive in her belly amid the waves. There were many indictments leveled against the bishop; why and with what intention he undertook the office of bishop, why he grew proud about the goods intended for souls, the way he directed the souls entrusted to him, in what way he had responded to the grace God had given him.

When the bishop could make no just reply to the charges, the judge replied: 'Put excrement on the bishop's head instead of a miter and pitch on his hands instead of gloves, mud on his feet instead of sandals. lnstead of a bishop's shirt and linen garment put the rags of a whore on him. Let him have disgrace instead of honor. Instead of a train of servants, let him have a raging mob of demons.' Then the judge added: 'Put a crown as radiant as the sun on the canon's head, gilded gloves on his hands, place shoes on his feet. Let him don the clothes of a bishop with every honor.'
Dressed in his episcopal garb, surrounded by the heavenly host, he was presented to the judge as an honored bishop. The bishop, however, went off like a thief with a rope about his neck. At the sight of him the judge averted his merciful eyes as did all his saints with him.

That is the way in which many persons through their good intentions and in a spiritual sense attain the rank of honor scorned by those who were called to it in a physical sense. All these things took place instantaneously before God, although, for your sake, they were acted out in words, for a thousand years are as a single hour before God. It happens every day that, inasmuch as bishops and rulers do not want to have the office to which they were called, God chooses for himself poor priests and parish clerks who, living according to their own better conscience, would be glad to be of benefit to souls for the glory of God if they could, and they do what they can. For this reason, they will take the places prepared for the bishops.

God is like a man who hangs a golden crown outside the door of his house and cries out to passersby: 'Anyone of any social standing can earn this crown! He who is most nobly clothed in virtue will obtain it.' Know that if bishops and rulers are wise in worldly wisdom, God is wiser than they in a spiritual sense, for he raises up the humble and does not give his approval to the proud. Know, too, that this canon who was praised did not have to groom his horse when he went off to preach or carry out his duties, nor did he have to light the fire when he was about to eat.

No, he had the servants and the means he needed to live in a reasonable fashion. He had money, too, although not for his own greedy use, for not even if he had had all the wealth in the world would he have given a single shilling to become bishop. But not for all the world would he have refused to become bishop, if that was God's will. He gave his will to God, ready to be honored for the honor of God and ready to be cast down out of love and fear of God.”

Ambrose's words to the bride about the prayer of good persons for the people; rulers of the world and the church are compared to helmsmen, while pride and the rest of the vices are compared to storms, and the passage into truth is compared to a haven; also, about the bride's spiritual calling.

Book 3 - Chapter 5

“It is written that the friends of God once cried out asking God to rend the heavens and come down to free his people of Israel. In these days, too, God's friends cry out saying: 'Kindest God, we see innumerable people perishing in perilous storms, for their helmsmen are greedy and are always desirous of putting to land in those countries where they think they will get a greater profit. They lead the people toward places where there is a tremendous hurling of the waves, while the people themselves do not know any safe haven. So this countless people is therefore in awful peril and very few of them ever reach their proper haven. We beg you, King of all glory, graciously light up the haven so that your people may escape their danger, not having to obey the wicked helmsmen but being led to the haven by your blessed light.'

By these helmsmen I mean all those who wield either material or spiritual power in the world. Many of them love their own will so much that they do not bother themselves about the needs of the souls under them or about the fierce storms of the world, since they are of their own free will caught up in the storms of pride, greed, and impurity. The wretched populace imitates their deeds, thinking that they are on a straight course. In this way the rulers bring themselves and their subjects to perdition by following their every selfish desire. By the haven I mean the passageway to truth.

For many people this passageway has grown so dark that when someone describes for them how to get to the haven of their celestial fatherland by way of the sacred gospel of Christ, then they call him a liar and instead follow the ways of those who wallow in each and every sin, rather than trusting in the words of those who preach the gospel truth.
By the light requested by the friends of God I mean a divine revelation made in the world in order that God's love might be renewed in human hearts and his justice not be forgotten or neglected. Therefore, because of his mercy and the prayers of his friends, it has pleased God to call you in the Holy Spirit in order that you may spiritually see, hear, and understand so that you may reveal to others that which you hear in the Spirit according to the will of God.”

Ambrose's words to the bride offering an allegory about a man, his wife and his housemaid, and about how this adulterer symbolizes a wicked bishop while his wife symbolizes the church and his housemaid the love of this world, and about the harsh sentence on those more attached to the world than to the church.

Book 3 - Chapter 6

“I am Bishop Ambrose. I am appearing to you and speaking with you in allegory because your heart is unable to receive a spiritual message without some physical comparison. Once there was a man whose lawfully wedded wife was charming and prudent. However, he liked the housemaid better than his wife. This had three consequences. The first is that the words and gestures of the housemaid delighted him more than those of his wife. The second is that he dressed the housemaid up in fine clothes without caring that his wife was dressed in common rags. The third is that he was accustomed to spending nine hours with the housemaid and only the tenth hour with his wife. He spent the first hour at the housemaid's side, enjoying himself in gazing on her beauty. He spent the second hour sleeping in her arms. He spent the third hour cheerfully doing manual labor for the sake of the housemaid's comfort.

He spent the fourth hour taking physical rest with her after his physical toil. He spent the fifth hour restless in his mind and worrying about how to provide for her. He spent the sixth hour at rest with her, seeing now that she fully approved of what he had done for her. At the seventh hour the fire of carnal lust entered into him. He spent the eighth hour satisfying his willful lust with her. In the ninth hour he neglected certain tasks that he nevertheless would have liked to carry out. He spent the tenth hour doing some tasks that he did not feel like doing. And only during this hour did he stay with his wife. One of his wife's relatives came to the adulterer and reproached him strongly, saying: 'Turn the affection of your mind toward your lawfully wedded wife. Love her and clothe her as is fitting, and spend nine hours with her and only the tenth hour with the housemaid. If not, beware, because you will die a horrible and sudden death.'

By this adulterer I refer to someone who holds the office of bishop for the sake of providing for the church but, in spite of that, leads an adulterous life. He is joined to the holy church in spiritual union so that she should be his dearest bride, but he withdraws his affections from her and loves the servile world much more than his noble lady and bride. Thus, he does three things. First, he rejoices more in the fraudulent adulation of the world than in an obedient disposition toward the holy church. Second, he loves worldly decorations, but cares little about the lack of material or spiritual decoration of the church. Third, he spends nine hours on the world and only one of ten on the holy church. Accordingly, he spends the first hour in good cheer, gazing on the beauty of the world with delight.

He spends the second hour sleeping sweetly in the arms of the world, that is, amid its high fortifications and the vigilance of its armies, happily confident in possessing physical security because of these things. He spends the third hour cheerfully doing manual labor for the sake of worldly advantage in order that he might obtain the physical enjoyment of the world. He spends the fourth hour gladly taking physical rest after his physical toil, now that he has sufficient means. He spends the fifth hour restless in his mind in different ways, worrying about how he can appear to be wise in worldly matters.

During the sixth hour he experiences an agreeable restfulness of mind, seeing that worldly people everywhere approve of what he has done. In the seventh hour he hears and sees worldly pleasures and readily opens his lust for them. This causes a fire to burn impatiently and intolerably in his heart. In the eighth hour he carries out in act what before had merely been his burning desire. During the ninth hour he negligently omits certain tasks he had wanted to do for worldly motives, so as not to offend those for whom he has a mere natural affection. In the tenth hour he cheerlessly performs a few good deeds, afraid that he might be held in scorn and gain a bad reputation or receive a harsh sentence if for some reason he wholly neglected to do them.

He is accustomed to spending only this tenth hour with the holy church, doing what good he does not out of love but out of fear. He is, of course, afraid of the punishment of the fires of hell. If he could live forever in physical comfort and with plenty of worldly possessions, he would not care about losing the happiness of heaven.
Therefore, I swear by that God who has no beginning and who lives without end, and affirm with certainty that, unless he returns to the holy church soon and spends nine hours with her and only the tenth with the housemaid, that is, with the world - not by loving it but by possessing the wealth and honor of his episcopal office with reluctance, and arranging everything in humility and reasonably for the glory of God - then the spiritual wound in his soul will be as grave as - to make a physical comparison - the wound of a man struck so horribly on his head that his whole body is destroyed down to the soles of his feet, with his veins and muscles bursting, and his bones getting shattered and the marrow flowing out terribly in all directions.

As harshly tormented as seems the heart in a body struck so violently in its head and the parts of the body closest to the head that the very soles of its feet are in pain, although they are at the farthest remove, equally harshly tortured will that miserable soul closest to the blast of divine justice appear when in its conscience it sees itself being unbearably wounded on every side.”

The Virgin's words to the bride comparing a world-loving bishop to a bellows full of air or to a snail lying in filth, and about the sentence dealt out to such a bishop who is the very opposite of Bishop Ambrose.

Book 3 - Chapter 7

“Scripture says: 'He who loves his own soul in this world will lose it.' Now this bishop loved his own soul with his every desire, and there were no spiritual inclinations in his heart. He might well be compared to an air-filled bellows next to a forge. Just as there is air left in the bellows once the coals are spent and the red-hot metal is flowing, so too, although this man has given his nature everything it craves, uselessly wasting his time, the same inclinations are still left in him like the air in the bellows. His will is inclined to worldly pride and lust. Because of these vices, he offers an excuse and a sinful example to people with hardened hearts who, wasted in sins, are flushed down to hell.

This was not the attitude of the good bishop Ambrose. His heart was filled with God's will. He ate and slept with temperance. He expelled the desire for sin and spent his time usefully and morally, He might well be called a bellows of virtue. He healed the wounds of sin with words of truth. He inflamed those who had grown cold in God's love by the example of his own good works. He cooled those who were burning with sinful desire by the purity of his life. In this way, he helped many people to avoid entering the death of hell, for divine love remained in him as long as he lived.

This bishop, on the other hand, is like a snail that reclines in its native filth and drags its head on the ground. In similar fashion, this man reclines and has his delight in sinful abomination, letting his mind be drawn to worldliness rather than to the thought of eternity, I would have him reflect on three things: First, the way in which he has exercised his priestly ministry. Second, the meaning of that gospel phrase: 'They have sheep's clothing but are ravenous wolves on the inside.' Third, the reason why his heart burns for temporal things but is cold toward the Creator of all things.”

The Virgin's words to the bride about her own perfection and excellence, and about the inordinate desires of modern teachers and about their false reply to the question asked them by the glorious Virgin.

Book 3 - Chapter 8

The Mother speaks: ”I am the woman who has always been in God's love. I was from my infancy entirely in the company of the Holy Spirit. If you want an example, think of how a nut grows. Its outer shell grows and widens, while its inner kernel also widens and grows, so that the nut is always full and there is no room in it for anything extraneous. In the same manner, too, I was full of the Holy Spirit from my infancy. As my body grew and I became older, the Holy Spirit filled me up with such abundance that he left no room in me for any sin to enter. Thus, I am she who never committed either venial or mortal sin. I so burned with love for God that I liked nothing but to carry out God's will, for the fire of divine love blazed in my heart.

God, blessed above all forever, who created me through his power and filled me with the power of his Holy Spirit, had an ardent love for me. In the fervor of his love he sent me his messenger and gave me to understand his decision that I should become the Mother of God. When I understood what the will of God was, then, through the fire of love that I bore in my heart towards God, a word of true obedience at once left my lips, and I gave this answer to the messenger, saying: 'May it be done to me according to your word.' At that very instant the Word was made flesh in me. The Son of God became my son.

The two of us had one son who is both God and man, as I am both Mother and Virgin. As my Son Jesus Christ, true God and wisest of men, lay in my womb, I received such great wisdom through him that I not only could understand the learning of scholars, I could even discern whether their hearts were true, whether their words proceeded from love for God or from mere scholarly cleverness. Therefore, you who hear my words should tell that scholar that I have three questions for him: First, whether he desires to win the favor and friendship of the bishop in a corporal sense more than he desires to present the bishop's soul to God in a spiritual sense. Second, whether his mind rejoices more in owning a great many florins or in owning none. Third, which of the following two choices he prefers: to be called a scholar and take his seat among the honored ranks for the sake of worldly glory or to be called a simple brother and take his seat among the lowly.

Let him ponder these three questions carefully. If his love for the bishop is corporal rather than spiritual, then it follows that he tells him things the bishop likes to hear rather than prohibiting him from doing all the sinful things he likes to do.
If he is happier about owning a lot of florins rather than none, then he loves riches more than poverty. He then gives the impression of advising his friends to acquire as much as they can rather than to give up gladly what they can do without. If, for the sake of worldly honor, he prefers his scholarly reputation and sitting in a seat of honor, then he loves pride more than humility and, therefore, appears to God more like an ass than a scholar. In that case he is chewing on empty straw, which is the same as scholarly knowledge without charity, and he does not have the fine wheat of charity, since divine charity can never grow strong in a proud heart.”

After the scholar had excused himself with the excuse that he had a greater desire to present the soul of the bishop to God in a spiritual sense and that he would rather have no florins and, in the third place, that he did not care about the title of scholar, the Mother said again: ”I am she who heard the truth from the lips of Gabriel and believed without doubting. This is why Truth took for himself flesh and blood from my body and remained in me.

I gave birth to that same Truth who was in himself both God and man. Inasmuch as Truth, who is the Son of God, willed to come to me and to dwell in me and to be born from me, I know fully well whether people have truth on their lips or not. I asked the scholar three questions. I would have approved of his answer, had there been truth in his words. However, there was no truth in them. Therefore, I will give him three warnings. The first is that there are some things that he loves and desires in this world but which he will not obtain at all. The second is that he will soon lose the thing that he has worldly joy in possessing. The third is that the little ones will enter heaven. The great ones will be left standing outside, because the gate is narrow.”

The Virgin's words to the bride about how those who can see and hear and so forth escape dangers by virtue of the sunlight and so forth, but dangers befall those who are blind and deaf and so forth.

Book 3 - Chapter 9

The Mother speaks: ”Although a blind man does not see it, the sun still shines clearly in splendor and beauty even while he is falling down the precipice. Travelers who have clear eyesight are thankful for the clear light that helps them avoid the dangers of their journey. Although the deaf man does not hear it, still the violent avalanche comes crashing down upon him terribly from on high, but he who can hear it coming escapes to safer places. Although a dead man cannot taste it while he lies rotting among worms, a good drink still tastes sweet. A living man can sip it and be glad at heart, feeling himself emboldened for any brave deed.”

The Virgin speaks to her daughter, offering assurance about the words spoken to her; and about the danger and approaching collapse of the church, and about how, unfortunately, the overseers of the church largely devote themselves nowadays to a life of debauchery and greed and waste the goods of the church in their pride, and about how the wrath of God is aroused against such as these.

Book 3 - Chapter 10

The Mother speaks: ”Do not be afraid of the things you are about to see, thinking they come from the evil spirit. Just as light and heat accompany the approach of the sun but do not follow after a dark shadow, in the same way two things accompany the coming of the Holy Spirit into the heart: ardent love for God and the complete illumination of holy faith. You are experiencing both these things now. These two do not follow upon the devil whom we can liken to a dark shadow. Therefore, send my messenger to the man I mentioned to you. Although I know his heart and how he will respond, and the imminent end of his life, you should still send him the following message.

I would have him know that the foundation of the holy church is so heavily deteriorated on its right side that its vaulted roof has many cracks at the top, and that this causes the stones to fall so dangerously that many of those who pass beneath it lose their lives. Several of the columns that should stand erect are almost level with the ground and even the floor is so full of holes that blind people entering there have dangerous falls. Sometimes it even happens that, along with the blind, people with good eyesight have bad falls because of the dangerous holes in the floor. As a result of all this, the Church of God is dangerously tottering, and if she is tottering so badly, what awaits next if not her collapse?

I assure you that if she is not helped by repairs, her collapse will be so great that it will be heard throughout all of Christendom.
I am the Virgin whose womb the Son of God condescended to enter, without the least contagious trace of carnal lust. The Son of God was born from my closed womb, giving me solace but no pain at all. I stood next to the cross when he victoriously overcame hell through his patient suffering and opened up heaven with the blood of his heart. I was also on the mountain when God's Son, who is also my Son, ascended into heaven. I have the clearest knowledge of the whole of the catholic faith that he preached and taught to everyone who wanted to enter heaven.

I am that same woman, and now I stand over the world in continuous prayer, like a rainbow above the clouds that appears to bend toward the earth and to touch it with both ends. I see myself as a rainbow bending down toward both the good and the wicked inhabitants of the earth by means of my prayers. I bend down toward good people in order that they may be steadfast in the commandments of the holy church, and I bend down toward bad people in order that they may not add to their wickedness and grow worse. I would have the man I mentioned to you know that foul and horrible clouds are rising up in one direction against the shining rainbow. By these clouds I mean those who lead a life of carnal debauchery, those who are as insatiable as the ocean chasm in their greed for money, and those who arrogantly and irrationally spend their means as wastefully as a torrential stream pours out its water.

Many of the overseers of the church are guilty of these three things, and their horrendous sins rise up to heaven in the sight of God, as opposed to my prayers as foul clouds are opposed to the shining rainbow. The men who should be placating the wrath of God along with me are instead provoking God's wrath against themselves. Such men should not be promoted in the church of God. I, the Queen of Heaven, will come to the aid of anyone who, knowing his own insufficiency, is willing to take on the task of making the church's foundation stable and restoring the blessed vineyard that God founded with his blood, and, together with the angels, I will root up loose roots and throw any trees without fruit into the fire and plant fruitful shoots in their stead. By this vineyard I mean the church of God in which the two virtues of humility and divine charity must be restored.”


The Son of God speaks of the papal nuncios: ”You have entered the company of rulers and are going to rise still higher. Worthy is he who works to exalt humility, for pride has already risen far too high. He who has charity for souls will also receive the highest honors, for ambition and simony are now prevalent among many people. Happy is he who tries to root out the vices of the world as far as he can, for vice is now grown abnormally strong.
It is also most efficacious to have patience and to pray for it, for, in the days of many who are yet living, the sun will be rent in two, the stars thrown into confusion, wisdom will be made foolish, the humble on earth will groan and the bold will prevail. The understanding and interpretation of these things belongs to the wise men who know how to make the rough smooth and to provide for the future.” The foregoing revelation was for the cardinal of Albano who was then a prior.

The bride's trusting words to Christ, and about how John the Baptist offers assurance to the bride that Christ speaks to her, and about the happiness of the good rich man, and about how an imprudent bishop is compared to a monkey because of his foolishness and wicked life.

Book 3 - Chapter 11

The bride spoke to Christ humbly in her prayer saying: ”O my Lord Jesus Christ, so firmly do I believe in you that even if the serpent lay in front of my mouth, he should not enter unless you permitted it for my own good.”
John the Baptist answered: ”The one who appears to you is the very Son of God by nature, whom I myself heard the Father bearing witness to when He said: 'This is my Son.' From him proceeds the Holy Spirit who appeared above him in the form of a dove as I was baptizing him. He is the son of the Virgin according to the flesh. I touched his body with my very own hands.

Believe firmly in him and enter into his life. He is the one who has shown the true path by which poor and rich can enter heaven. But you might ask, what should the inner disposition of a rich person be if he is to enter heaven, given that God himself has said that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven? To this I answer you: A rich man who is disposed in such away that he is afraid to have any ill-gotten goods, who is concerned not to spend his means wastefully or contrary to God's will, who holds his possessions and honors with reluctance and would willingly be separated from them, who is disturbed by the loss of souls and the dishonor done to God, and, although he is compelled by the plans of God to own the world to some extent, is vigilant concerning the love of God in his every intention, this is the kind of rich man who bears fruit and is happy and dear to God.

This bishop, however, is not rich in that way. He is like a monkey with four distinguishing features. The first is a costume that has been made for him that hangs down and hides his torso but leaves his private parts completely exposed. The second is that he touches stinking things with his fingers and puts them to his mouth. The third is that he has a humanlike face, although the rest of his coloring and appearance is that of a brute animal. The fourth is that, although he has both hands and feet, he tramples on the dirt with his hands and fingers. This foolish bishop is like a monkey, curious about the vanity of the world, too deformed for any action deserving praise.

He wears a costume, that is, his episcopal ordination, which is honorable and precious in the sight of God, but his naked private parts are exposed, since the frivolity of his character and his carnal lust are displayed to others and bring ruin to souls. This goes against what that noble knight says about how a man's more shameful parts are given the greater honor, meaning by this that the animal urges of priests should be hidden by good works, so that the weak may not be scandalized by their example.

A monkey also touches and sniffs at stinking things. What do you do with a finger if not point to something you have seen, just as when I beheld God in his human nature and pointed to him with my finger, saying, 'Behold the Lamb of God'? What are the fingers of a bishop if not his praiseworthy virtues through which he should point to God's justice and charity?
But, instead, this man's actions point to the fact that he is nobleborn and rich, worldly wise and lavish with his money. What is this if not to touch stinking rot with his fingers? Is glorying in the flesh or in a great household anything else than glorying in puffed-up sacks? A monkey has a human face but looks like a brute animal in other respects.

This man, too, possesses a soul stamped with the seal of God but deformed through his own greed. In the fourth place, just as a monkey touches and tramples on the dirt with his feet and hands, so too this man covets the things of the earth in his appetites and actions, turning his face away from heaven and lowering it to the earth like an oblivious animal. Does a man like that lessen the wrath of God? No, indeed, he rather provokes God's justice against himself.”


The following revelation was made about a cardinal legate during the jubilee year. The Son of God speaks: ”O proud debater, where is your pomp, where is your equestrian finery now? You did not want to understand while you were being held in honor. This is why you have now fallen into dishonor. Answer my question then, although I know all things, while this new bride is listening.” And immediately it was as if an amazingly misshapen person appeared, trembling and naked. The judge said to him: ”O soul, you taught that the world and its riches should be spurned. Why then did you follow after them?”

The soul answered: ”Because their filthy stench smelled better to me than your sweet fragrance.” And as soon as he said this, a daemon poured a vessel of sulphur and poison into the soul. Again the judge spoke: ”O soul, you were set up to be a shining lamp for the people, why did you not shine forth by word and example?” The soul answered: ”Because your love had been wiped out from my heart. I roamed about like one who had lost his memory and like a vagabond, looking at things in the present and not thinking of the future.” When the soul had said this, it was deprived of the light of its eyes. The daemon who was seen to be present said: ”O judge, this soul is mine. What shall I do?” The judge said: ”Purge and scrutinize it as in a winepress until the council is held at which the allegations of both friends and enemies will be discussed.”

The bride speaks to Christ, pouring forth prayers for the bishop mentioned above, and about the answers that Christ, the Virgin, and Saint Agnes gave to the bride.

Book 3 - Chapter 12

“O my Lord, I know that no one can enter heaven unless drawn by the Father. Therefore, most kind Father, draw this ailing bishop to you. And you, Son of God, help him if he makes the effort. And you, Holy Spirit, fill this cold and empty bishop with your love.”

God the Father answers: ”If he who draws something is strong but the thing drawn too heavy, his effort is soon wasted and comes to naught. Besides, if the one drawn is bound up, then he can neither help himself nor the person drawing him. If the one drawn is unclean, then he is loathsome to the one who draws him and comes in contact with him. The attitude of this bishop is like that of a man standing at a fork in the road trying to decide which way to take.”

The bride answered: ”O my Lord, is it not written that no one stands still in this life but advances either toward that which is better or toward that which is worse?”
The Father answered: ”Both things could be said here, since this man stands, as it were, between two roads, one of joy and one of sorrow. The horror of eternal punishment upsets him, and he would prefer to obtain the joy of heaven. However, he thinks the road that leads to joy is too rough to tread. But he certainly does start walking when he goes after objects he fervently desires.”

Blessed Agnes speaks: ”The attitude of this bishop is like that of a man standing between two roads. He knew one of them was narrow at first but delightful in the end; he knew the other was pleasant for a while but ended in a bottomless pit of anguish. As the traveler thought about these two roads, he was more attracted to the road that was pleasant at the start. However, since he was afraid of the bottomless pit, the following thought occurred to him. He said: 'There must be a shortcut on the pleasurable road. If I can find it, I can go safely on for a long time and, when I get to the pit at the end, provided I find the shortcut, nothing will harm me.' So he walked safely on along the road, but when he came to the pit, he took a terrible fall right into it, since he had not found the shortcut he was expecting.

Nowadays there are a lot of people with the same idea as this man. They think to themselves as follows. They say: 'It is burdensome to take the narrow path. It is hard to give up our self-will and our privileges.' In this way they place a false and dangerous confidence in themselves. They say: 'The road is long. God's mercy is great. The world is pleasant and was made for pleasure. There is nothing to prevent me from making use of the world for a time as I wish, since I mean to follow God at the end of my life. After all, there is a kind of shortcut from the path of worldliness and that is contrition and confession. If I can manage that, I will be saved.'

The thought that a person can keep desiring sin until the end of life and then go to confession is a very weak hope, because they fall into the pit sooner than they expect. At times, too, they undergo such pain and so sudden a death that they are completely incapable of repenting in a fruitful manner. It serves them right. For, when they had the opportunity, they did not want to have any foresight for coming evils, but they arbitrarily set the time for God's mercy by their definition. They made no resolution not to sin so long as they could continue enjoying sin. In the same way, too, this bishop was standing between these two roads. Now, however, he is drawing nearer to the more pleasurable path of the flesh. Let us say that he has three pages set before him to read.

He reads the first page over and over with pleasure, but he reads the second page only once in a while and with no pleasure at all, while he reads the third only rarely and does so with sadness. The first page represents the wealth and privileges he delights in. The second is the fear of Gehenna and the future judgment that is upsetting to him. The third is the love and filial fear of God that he rarely peruses. If he would take to heart all that God has done for him or how much he has lavished on him, the love of God would never be extinguished in his heart.”

The bride answered: ”O Lady, pray for him.” And then Blessed Agnes said: ”What is the role of justice if not to judge and what is the role of mercy if not to encourage?” The Mother of God speaks: ”The bishop will be told this: Although God can do all things, a man's personal cooperation is still necessary if he is to avoid sin and gain the love of God. There are three means to avoid sin and three means to obtain love. The three by which sin is avoided are: Perfect penance; second, the intention of not wanting to commit the sin again; third, to improve one's life according to the advice of those whom one knows to have given up the world. The three means that work together to obtain love are humility, mercy, and the effort to love. Whoever prays even one Our Father for the sake of gaining God's love will soon experience the effect of God's love drawing close to him.

About the other bishop, about whom I was speaking with you before, I must say in conclusion that the pits appear too wide for him to leap over, the walls too high to climb, the bars too strong to break. I stand here waiting for him, but he turns his head away toward the activities of three groups of people that he enjoys watching. The first group is a dancing chorus. He tells them: 'I like listening to you, wait up for me!' The second group is engaged in speculation. He tells them: 'I want to see what you see - I enjoy that sort of thing a lot.' The third group is enjoying itself and relaxing in quiet, and he wants to enjoy privilege and quiet with them.

To be a dancing chorus in the world means nothing other than to pass from one fleeting delight to another, from one desire for honor to another. To stand and speculate means nothing other than to take the soul away from divine contemplation and to think about the collecting and distributing of temporal goods. To relax in quiet means nothing other than to relax in body. While watching these three crowds, the bishop has climbed up a high mountain but he does not care about the words I have sent to him, nor does he care about the terms of my message that are that, if he keeps his promise, I will also keep mine.”

The bride answers: ”O gentle Mother, do not abandon him!” The Mother says to her: ”I will not abandon him until dust returns to dust. More than that, if he breaks through the bars, I will come to meet him like a handmaid and will help him like a mother.” And the Mother added: ”Are you, daughter, thinking of what would have been the reward of that canon of Orléans, if his bishop had been converted? I will answer you: You see how the earth bears grass and flowers of different species and kinds. In the same way, too, if every person had uprightly remained in their own station from the beginning of the world, then everyone would have received a great reward, inasmuch as everyone who is in God would have gone from one delight to the next, not because of any sense of tediousness in their pleasure, but because their delight grows continuously more delightful and their indescribable joy is continuously made new.”


This was the bishop of Växjö. When he was in Rome, he was greatly worried about his return. It was heard in the spirit: ”Tell the bishop that his delay is more useful than his haste. Those in his company who have gone ahead of him will follow after him. This is why when he returns to his country, he will find my words to be true.” This is the way it all turned out. On his return, he found the king in capture and the whole kingdom in an uproar. Those in his company who had gone ahead of him were impeded for a long time on the way and arrived after him. ”Know also that the lady who is in the company of the bishop will return safely but will not die in her home country.” And so it turned out, for she went a second time to Rome, and she died and was buried there.


When Lady Birgitta came down from Monte Gargano to the city of Mafredonia in the kingdom of Sicily, the same bishop was in her company. On the mountain it happened that he had such a bad fall from his horse that he broke two ribs. When the lady was about to go out to St. Nicholas of Bari in the morning, he called her to him saying: ”Lady, it is so hard for me to stay here without you. It is also a burden that you should be delayed on my account, especially given the raids going on. I ask you,” he said, ”for the love of Jesus Christ, to pray to God for me and touch your hand to my aching side!

I hope that my pain will be lessened through the touch of your hands.” With tears in her eyes, she answered in compassion: ”Sir, I regard myself as nothing, for I am a great sinner in God's sight. But let us all pray to God and he will answer your faith.” They prayed, and when she stood up, she touched the bishop's side, saying: ”May the Lord Jesus Christ heal you.” Immediately the pain went away. And the bishop got up and followed her all the way back to Rome.

The Mother's words to the daughter in which the words and deeds of Christ are explained and wonderfully described as a treasure, his divine nature as a castle, sin as bars, virtues as walls, and the beauty of the world and the delight of friendship as two moats, and about how a bishop ought to behave with respect to the care of souls.

Book 3 - Chapter 13

The Mother speaks to the bride of her Son, saying: ”This bishop prays to me in his love, and, for that reason, he should do what pleases me most. There is a treasure I know of that whoever possesses it will never be poor, whoever sees it will never know distress and death, and whoever desires it will joyfully receive whatever he wishes. The treasure is locked up in a strong castle behind four bars. Outside the castle stand high walls large and thick. Beyond the walls are two wide and deep moats. And so I ask the bishop to jump over the two moats in a single leap, and climb the walls in a single bound, and break through the bars with a single blow and then to bring me the thing that pleases me most.

I will now tell you the meaning of all this. When you use the word 'treasure,' you refer to something that is rarely used or moved about. In this case, the treasure is my dearest Son's precious words and the deeds he did during and before his passion, along with the miracles he worked when the Word was made flesh in my body and that he continues to do when, at God's word, the bread on the altar each day is changed into that same flesh. All these things are a precious treasure that has become so neglected and forgotten that there are very few people who recall it or draw any profit from it. However, the glorious body of God my Son is to be found in a fortified castle, that is, in the strength of his divine nature. Just as a castle is a defense against enemies, so the strength of my Son's divine nature is a defense for the body of his human nature, so that no enemy can harm him. The four bars are four sins that exclude many people from the participation in and the goodness of the strength of the body of Christ.

The first sin is pride along with the desire for worldly honors. The second is the desire for worldly possessions. The third is the repulsive lust to fill the body up intemperately, and its utterly repulsive satisfaction. The fourth is anger and envy and the neglect of one's own salvation. Many people have an excessive love for these four sins and possess them habitually, which takes them very far away from God. They see and receive the body of God, but their soul is as far from God as thieves are when the way to what they want to steal is blocked by strong bars.

This is why I said that he should break through the bars with a single blow. The blow symbolizes the zeal for souls with which a bishop ought to break sinners through deeds of justice done for the love of God in order that, once the bars of vice have been broken, the sinner can reach the precious treasure. Although he cannot strike down every sinner, he should do what he can and ought to do, especially for those who are under his care, sparing neither great nor small, neighbor nor relation, friend nor enemy. This is what Saint Thomas of England did. He suffered much for the sake of justice and met with a harsh death in the end, all because he did not refrain from striking bodies with the justice of the church in order that souls might endure less suffering.

This bishop should imitate Thomas's way of life, so that everyone who hears him may understand that he hates his own sins as well as other people's sins. The blow of divine zeal will then be heard throughout the heavens before God and his angels. Many people will then be converted and mend their ways, saying: 'He does not hate us but our Sins.' They will say: 'Let us repent and we will become friends both of God and of the bishop.'

The three walls surrounding the castle are three virtues. The first virtue is giving up carnal pleasures and doing the will of God. The second is to prefer to suffer reproaches and curses for the sake of truth and justice rather than to obtain worldly honors and possessions by dissimulating the truth. The third is to be ready to forgo both life and possessions for the sake of any Christian's salvation. However, look at what people do nowadays. They think these walls are too high to climb over at all.

Accordingly, neither their hearts nor their souls approach the glorious body with any constancy, for they are far from God. This is why I told my friend to climb the walls in a single bound. A bound is what you call it when the feet are held far apart in order for the body to move quickly. A spiritual bound is similar, for, when the body is on earth and the love of the heart is in heaven, then you climb the three walls quickly. When a man meditates on the things of heaven, he is ready to give up his own will, to suffer rejection and persecution for the sake of justice, and to die willingly for the glory of God.

The two moats outside the wall represent the beauty of the world and the company and enjoyment of worldly friends. There are many people who are content to take it easy in these moats and never care whether they will see God in heaven. The moats are wide and deep, wide because the wills of such people are far from God, and deep because they confine many souls in the depths of hell. This is why the moats should be jumped over in a single leap. A spiritual leap is nothing other than to detach one's whole heart from things that are empty and to take the leap from earthly goods to the kingdom of heaven.

I have shown how to break through the bars and leap over the walls. Now I will show how this bishop should bring me the most precious thing there ever was. God's divine nature was and is from eternity without beginning, since neither beginning nor end can be found in it. But his human nature was in my body and took flesh and blood from me. Therefore, it is the most precious thing there ever was or is. Accordingly, when the righteous soul receives God's body with love and when his body fills the soul, the most precious thing there ever was is there. Although the divine nature exists in three Persons without beginning and without end in itself, when God sent his Son to me with his divine nature and the Holy Spirit, he received his blessed body from me. I will now show the bishop how this precious thing is to be brought before the Lord. Wherever God's friend comes across a sinner whose words show little love for God but much love for the world, that soul is empty with respect to God.

Accordingly, God's friend should show his love for God by his sorrow that a soul redeemed by the Creator's blood should be an enemy to God. He should show compassion for the wretched soul by using two voices, as it were, toward it: one in which he entreats God to have pity on the soul, and another in which he shows the soul its own danger. If he can reconcile and unite the two of them, God and the soul, then the hands of his love will offer to God the most precious gift, for the thing most dear to me is when the body of God, which was once inside me, and the human soul, which God has created, come together in friendship.

This is hardly surprising. You know well that I was present when my Son, the great knight, went forth from Jerusalem to fight a battle so brutal and difficult that all the sinews of his arms were strained. His back was bloodied and livid, his feet pierced by nails, his eyes and ears full of blood. His head sank when he gave up his spirit. His heart was sundered by the point of a spear. He won souls by suffering greatly. He who now dwells in glory stretches out his arms to men, but few there are who bring him his bride. Consequently, a friend of God should spare neither life nor possessions in helping others while he helps himself by bringing them to my Son.

Tell this bishop that, given that he prays for my friendship, I will bind myself to him with a bond of faith. The body of God, which was once within me, will welcome his soul with great love. As the Father was in me together with the Son who had my body and soul in himself, and as the Holy Spirit who is in the Father and the Son was everywhere with me and had my Son within him, so too my servant will be bound to the same Spirit. If he loves the sufferings of God and has his precious body in his heart, then he will have God's human nature that has the divine nature within and without it. God will be in him and he in God, just as God is in me and I in him. As my servant and I share one God, we will also share one bond of love and one Holy Spirit who is one God with the Father and the Son.

One thing more: If this bishop keeps his promise with me, I will help him during his lifetime. At the end of his life I will help and assist him and bring his soul before God, saying: 'My God, this man served you and obeyed me, and therefore I present his soul to you!' O daughter, what is a person thinking of when he despises his own soul? Would God the Father in his unfathomable divinity have let his own innocent Son suffer so much in his human nature, if he had not an honest desire and longing for souls and for the eternal glory that he has prepared for them?”
This revelation was about the bishop of Linköping who was afterwards made archbishop. There is more on the same bishop in Book 6, chapter 22, beginning: ”This prelate.”


”The bishop for whom you weep came to an easy purgatory. Know for certain that, although in the world he had many who blocked his way, they have now received their sentence, and he shall be glorified due to his faith and purity.”

The Mother's words to her daughter, using a marvelous comparison to describe a certain bishop, likening the bishop to a butterfly, his humility and pride to its two wings, the three facades covering up the vices of the bishop to the insect's three colors, his deeds to the thickness of its coloring, his double will to the butterfly's two feelers, his greed to its mouth, his puny love to its puny body.

Book 3 - Chapter 14

The Mother speaks to the bride of her Son, saying: ”You are a vessel that the owner fills and the teacher empties. However, it is one and the same person who fills and empties you. A person who can pour wine and milk and water together into a vessel would be called an expert teacher if he could separate each of these liquids blended together and restore each to its own proper nature. This is what I, the Mother and Teacher of all mankind, have done and am doing to you. A year and a half ago, all sorts of matters were spoken to you, and now they all seem to be blended together in your soul, and it would seem disgusting if they were all poured out together, since their purpose would not be understood. This is why I gradually distinguish them as I see fit.

Do you recall that I sent you to a certain bishop whom I called my servant? Let us compare him to a butterfly with two wide wings spattered in the colors white, red, and blue. When you touch it, the pigment sticks to your fingers like ashes. This insect has a puny body but a big mouth, two feelers on its forehead, and a hidden place in its belly through which it emits the filth of its belly. The wings of this insect, that is, the bishop's wings, are his humility and pride. Outwardly he appears humble in his words and gestures, humble in his dress and actions, but inwardly there is a pride that makes him great in his own sight, rendering him swollen up with his own reputation, ambitious for people's appreciation, judgmental of others, and arrogant in preferring himself to others. On these two wings he flies before people with the apparent humility that aims at pleasing individuals and being the talk of everyone, as well as with the pride that makes him consider himself to be holier than others.

The three colors of the wings represent his three facades that cover up his vices. The color red means that he continually lectures on the sufferings of Christ and the miracles of the saints in order to be called holy, but they are far from his heart indeed, since he has not much liking for them. The color blue means that, on the outside, he does not seem to care about temporal goods, seeming to be dead to the world and to be all for the things of heaven under his facade of heavenly blue. But this second color makes him no more stable or fruitful before God than the first. The color white implies that he is a religious in his dress and commendable in his ways. However, his third color holds just as much charm and perfection as the first two. As a butterfly's pigment is thick and stays on your fingers, leaving behind nothing but a kind of ashy substance, so too his deeds seem to be admirable, inasmuch as he desires solitude , but they are empty and ineffectual as to their usefulness to him, since he does not sincerely yearn for or love that which is lovable.

The two feelers represent his duplicitous will. You see, he wants to lead a life of comfort in this world and to have eternal life after death. He does not want to be cheated out of being held in great esteem on earth while receiving an even more perfect crown in heaven. This bishop is just like a butterfly, thinking he can carry heaven on one feeler and earth on the other, although he cannot put up with the least little difficulty for God's glory. So he relies on God's church and thinks he can benefit it by his word and example, as if the church could not thrive without him. He presumes that his own good deeds will make worldly people bear spiritual fruit. Hence he reasons like a soldier who has already fought the fight. 'Since,' he says, 'I am already called devout and humble, why should I strive after a life of greater austerity? Although I may sin in a few pleasures without which my life would be unhappy, still my greater merits and good deeds will be my excuse. If heaven can be won for a cup of cold water, what need is there to struggle beyond measure?'

A butterfly has a big mouth as well, but its greed is even bigger, so much so that if it could eat up every single fly but one, it would want to eat that one up, too. Likewise, if this man could add a shilling to the many he already has in such away that it would go unnoticed in secret, he would take it, although the hunger of his greed would not be stilled even then.

A butterfly also has a hidden outlet for its impurities. This man, too, gives improper vent to his anger and impatience, displaying his secret impurities to others. And as a butterfly has a little body, this man has little charity, while his lack of charity is made up for only by the width and breadth of his wings.” The bride answered: ”If he has just one spark of charity, there is always some hope of life and charity and salvation for him.” The Mother said: ”Did not Judas also have some charity left when he said after he had betrayed his Lord: 'I have sinned in betraying innocent blood'? He wanted to make it look as though he had charity, but he had none.”

The Mother's words to her daughter in which another such bishop is allegorically described as a gadfly, his wordy eloquence as flying, his two concerns as two wings, his flattery of the world as a sting; and about the Virgin's amazement at the life of these two bishops; also, about preachers.

Book 3 - Chapter 15

The Mother speaks again to the bride, saying: ”I have shown you another bishop whom I called the pastor of the flock. Let us compare him to a gadfly with an earthy color that flies about noisily. Wherever he alights, his bite is terrible and painful. This pastor has an earthy color, for, although he was called to poverty, he would rather be rich than poor, he would rather be in charge than submit, he would rather have his own will than be disciplined through obedience to others. He flies about noisily in the sense that he is full of wordy eloquence in his pious preaching, and lectures about worldly vanities instead of spiritual doctrine, praising and following worldly vanities rather than the holy simplicity of his order.

He has two wings as well, that is, two ideas: The first is that he wants to offer people charming and soothing speech so that he may win their esteem. The second is that he wants everyone to yield to him and obey him. The sting of a gadfly is unbearable. Likewise, this man stings souls to damnation. Although he should be a doctor of souls, he does not tell the people who come to him about their danger and infirmity nor does he use a sharp scalpel, but speaks soothingly to them in order to be called meek and so as not to cause anyone to avoid him. These two bishops are quite simply astonishing. One of them makes an appearance of being poor, solitary, and humble in order to be called spiritual. The other one wants to possess the world in order to be called merciful and generous. The one wants to seem to own nothing and yet longs to possess everything secretly. The other openly wants to have many possessions in order to have a lot to give away and thus win the esteem of others. Accordingly, as the proverb goes, since they serve me in a way I cannot see (because I do not accept it), I shall reward them in a way they will not see.

Do you wonder why such men are praised for their preaching? I will tell you: Sometimes a bad man speaks to good people and the good Spirit of God is poured into them, not because of the goodness of the teacher but through the teacher's words in which the good Spirit of God is found for the good of the listeners. Sometimes a good man speaks to bad people who are made good by hearing it both because of the good Spirit of God and the goodness of the teacher. Sometimes a cold man speaks to cold people in such away that these cold hearers recount what they have heard to fervent people who had not been there, rendering their listeners more fervent. So, do not worry about what kind of people you are sent to. Wonderful is God who tramples gold underfoot and places mud amidst the rays of the sun!”

The Son's explanation to the bride that the damnation of souls does not please God; also, about the astonishing questions of the younger bishop to the older bishop, and about the answers of the older bishop to the younger one.

Book 3 - Chapter 16

The Son speaks to the bride, saying: ”Why do you think these two men are being shown to you? Is it because God enjoys censuring and condemning them? Of course not. No, it is done in order better to reveal God's patience and glory and also so that those who hear it may fear God's judgment. But now, come and listen to an astonishing conversation. Look there, the younger bishop has asked the older one a question, saying: 'Brother, hear and answer me. Once you had been bound to the yoke of obedience, why did you forsake it? Once you had chosen poverty and the religious state, why did you abandon them? Once you had entered the religious state and made yourself dead to the world, why did you seek the episcopate?' The older man answered: 'The obedience that taught me to be an inferior was a burden to me. That is why I preferred my freedom. The yoke that God says is pleasant was bitter to me.

That is why I sought and chose bodily comfort. My humility was pretended. That is why I craved honors. And, since it is better to push than to pull, I desired the episcopate accordingly.' The younger man asked again: 'Why did you not do honor to your episcopal see by giving it worldly honor? Why did you not acquire riches by means of worldly wisdom? Why did you not spend your possessions according to the demands of worldly honor? Why did you humble yourself outwardly rather than acting in accord with worldly ambition?'

The older man answered: 'The reason I did not strew worldly honors upon my see was that I was hoping myself to be honored so much the more by appearing to be humble and spiritual rather than worldly minded. Therefore, in order to be praised by worldly people, I made a show of holding everything in contempt; I appeared humble and devout in order to be held in esteem by spiritual men. The reason I did not acquire riches through worldly wisdom was in order that spiritual men might not notice it and hold me in contempt because of my secularity. The reason I was not liberal in giving gifts was that I preferred to have few rather than many companions for the sake of my own peace and quiet. I preferred having my money-chest full to handing away gifts.'

Again the younger man asked: 'Tell me, why did you give a pleasant and sweet drink out of a dirty vessel to an ass? Why did you give the bishop husks from the pigsty? Why did you fling down your crown under your feet? Why did you spit out wheat but chew weeds? Why did you free others from their chains but bind yourself with fetters? Why did you apply medicine to the wounds of others but poison to your own?' The older man answered: 'I gave my ass a sweet drink from a disgusting, dirty vessel in the sense that, although a scholar, I preferred to handle the divine sacraments of the altar for the sake of my worldly reputation rather than to apply myself to everyday cares. Inasmuch as my secrets were unknown to men but known to God, I grew a great deal in presumption and in that way added to the heavy justice of my terrible condemnation.

To the second question, I answer that I gave the bishop husks from the pig-sty in the sense that I followed the promptings of nature through self-indulgence and did not stand firm in self-restraint. As to the third question, I cast my episcopal crown underfoot in the sense that I preferred to do acts of mercy for the sake of human favor rather than acts of justice for the glory and love of God.

As to the fourth question, I spat out wheat but chewed straw in the sense that I did not preach God's words out of love for God nor did I like doing the things I told others to do. As to the fifth question, I freed others but bound myself in the sense that I absolved the people who turned to me with contrition, but I myself liked doing the things that they lamented through their penance and rejected through their tears. As to the sixth question, I anointed others with healing ointment but myself with poison in the sense that while I preached about purity of life and made others better, I made myself worse. I laid down precepts for others but was myself unwilling to lift a finger to do those very things. Where I saw others making progress, that is where I failed and wasted away, since I preferred to add a load to my already committed sins than to lessen my load of sins by making reparation.'

After this a voice was heard, saying: 'Give thanks to God that you are not among these poisonous vessels that, when they break, return to the poison itself.' Immediately, the death of one of the two was then announced.”

The Virgin's words to her daughter praising the life and order of St. Dominic, and about how he turned to the Virgin at the hour of his death, and about how in modern times few of his friars live by the sign of Christ's passion given them by Dominic, but many of them live by the mark of incision given them by the devil.

Book 3 - Chapter 17

Again the Mother speaks to the bride, saying: ”Yesterday I told you about two men who belonged to the Rule of St. Dominic. Dominic held my Son as his dear Lord and loved me his Mother more than his own heart. My Son gave this holy man the inspired thought that there are three things in the world that displease my Son: pride, greed, and carnal desire. By his sighs and entreaties, St. Dominic procured help and medicine so as to combat these three evils. God had compassion on his tears and inspired him to set up a codified rule of life in which the holy man opposed three virtues to the three evils of the world.

Against the vice of greed he laid it down that one should own nothing without the permission of one's superior. Against pride he prescribed wearing a humble and simple habit. Against the bottomless voracity of the flesh, he prescribed abstinence and times for practicing self-discipline. He placed a superior over his friars in order to preserve peace and protect unity.

In his desire to give his friars a spiritual sign, he symbolically impressed a red cross on their left arm near the heart, I mean through his teaching and fruitful example, when he taught and admonished them continually to recall the suffering of God, to preach God's word more fervently, not for the world's sake but out of love for God and souls. He also taught them to submit rather than to govern, to hate their self-will, to bear insults patiently, to want nothing beyond food and clothing, to love truth in their hearts and to proclaim it with their lips, not to seek their own praise but to have the words of God on their lips and to teach them always, without omitting them out of shame or uttering them in order to win human favor.

When the time came for his deliverance, which my Son had revealed to him in spirit, he came in tears to me, his Mother, saying: 'O Mary, Queen of Heaven, whom God predestined for himself to unite his divine and human natures, you alone are that virgin and you alone are that most worthy mother. You are the most powerful of women from whom Power itself went forth. Hear me as I pray to you! I know you to be most powerful and therefore I dare to come before you. Take my friars, whom I have reared and nurtured beneath the austerity of my scapular, and protect them beneath your wide mantle! Rule them and nurture them anew, so that the ancient enemy may not prevail against them and may not ruin the new vineyard planted by the right hand of your Son! My Lady, by my scapular with its one piece in front and one at the back, I am referring to nothing other than the twofold concern that I have shown for my friars.

I was anxious night and day for them and about how they might serve God by practicing temperance in a reasonable and praiseworthy fashion. I prayed for them that they might not desire any worldly thing that could offend God or that might blacken their reputation for humility and piety among their fellows. Now that the time for my reward has come, I entrust my members to you. Teach them as children while you carry them as their mother.' With these and other words, Dominic was called to the glory of God.

I answered him as follows, using figurative language: 'O Dominic, my beloved friend, since you love me more than yourself, I shall protect your sons beneath my mantle and rule them, and all those who persevere in your role shall be saved. My mantle is wide with mercy and I deny mercy to no one who happily asks for it. All those who seek it find protection in the bosom of my mercy.'

But, my daughter, what do you think the rule of Dominic consists in? Surely, it consists in humility, continence, and the contempt of the world. All those who make a commitment to these three virtues and lovingly persevere in them will never be condemned. They are the ones who keep the rule of Blessed Dominic. Now hear something truly amazing: Dominic placed his sons beneath my wide mantle, but, look and see, now there are fewer of them beneath my wide mantle than there were in the austerity of his scapular. Yet not even during Dominic's lifetime did everyone have a true sheepskin or a Dominican character. I can illustrate their character better by way of a parable.

If Dominic came down from the heights of heaven where he lives and said to the Thief who was coming back from the valley and had been looking over the sheep with a view to slaughtering and destroying them, he would say 'Why are you calling after and leading away the sheep that I know to be mine by evident signs?' The Thief might answer: 'Why, Dominic, do you appropriate to yourself what is not your own? It is outrageous pilferage to usurp another's property for oneself.' If Dominic tried to reply that he had raised and tamed them and led and taught them, the Thief would say: 'You may have brought them up and taught them, but I have led them back to their own self-will by gentle coaxing.

You may have mixed leniency with austerity for them, but I enticed them more coaxingly and showed them things better to their liking, and, see, more of them are running to my pasture at my call. This is how I know the sheep eagerly following me are mine, given that they are free to choose to follow the one who attracts them more.' If Dominic should answer in turn that his sheep are marked with a red sign in the heart, the Thief would say; 'My sheep are marked with my sign, a mark of incision on their right ear. Since my sign is more obvious and visible than your sign, I recognize them as my sheep.'

The Thief stands for the devil who has incorporated many of Dominic's sheep into himself. They have an incision on the right ear in the sense that they do not listen to the words of life of the one saying: 'The path to heaven is narrow.' They only put into practice those words they like hearing. Dominic's sheep are few, and they have a red sign in their heart in the sense that they lovingly keep in mind God's suffering and lead a happy life in all chastity and poverty, fervently preaching the word of God.

For this is the Rule of Dominic as people commonly express it; 'To be able to carry all that you own on your back, to want to own nothing but what the Rule allows, to give up not only superfluous things but even at times to refrain from licit and necessary things on account of the impulses of the flesh.' ”

The Mother's words to her daughter about how friars would now listen and in fact do listen sooner to the devil's voice than to that of their father Dominic, about how few of them follow in his footsteps now, about how those seeking the episcopate for worldly honor and for their own comfort and freedom do not belong to the rule of St. Dominic, about the terrible condemnation of such men, and about the condemnation experienced for one such episcopate.

Book 3 - Chapter 18

The Mother speaks to the bride, saying: ”I told you that all those who belong to the Rule of Dominic are beneath my mantle. Now you are going to hear just how many they are. If Dominic were to come down from the place of delights where he has true happiness and were to cry out as follows: 'My dear brothers, you my followers, there are four good things in reserve for you: honor in return for humility, everlasting riches in return for poverty, satisfaction without boredom in return for continence, eternal life in return for the contempt of the world,' they would scarcely listen to him. On the contrary, if the devil suddenly came up from his hollow and proclaimed four different things, and said: 'Dominic promised you four things. Look here, I have what you want in my hand.

I offer honors, I hold wealth in my hand, instant gratification is there, the world will be delicious to enjoy. Take what I offer you, then! Use these things that are certain! Lead a life of joy so that after death you may rejoice together!' If these two voices were now to sound in the world, more people would run to the voice of the robber and devil than to the voice of Dominic, my great good friend. What shall I say of the friars of Dominic?
Those who are in his rule are indeed few, fewer still those who follow in his footsteps by imitating him. For not everyone listens to the one voice, because not everyone is of one and the same sort - not in the sense that not everyone comes from God or that not everyone can be saved, if they want, but in the sense that not everyone listens to the voice of the Son of God saying: 'Come to me and I will refresh you, by giving you myself!'

But what shall I say of those friars who seek the episcopate for worldly reasons? Do they really belong to the rule of Dominic? Certainly not. Or are those who accept the episcopate for a good reason excluded from the Rule of Dominic? Of course not. Blessed Augustine lived by a Rule before he became a bishop, but when he was bishop he did not give up his rule of life, although he attained the highest honors. For he accepted the honor with reluctance, and they did not bring more comfort to him but more work, because, when he saw he could do good to souls, he gladly gave up his own desires and physical comfort for God's sake in order to win more souls for God. Accordingly, those men who aspire to and accept the episcopate in order to be of greater benefit to souls do belong to the Rule of Dominic. Their reward will be twofold, both because of the noble order that they had to leave and of the burden of the episcopal office to which they were called.

I swear by that God by whom the prophets swore, who did not swear their oath in impatience but because they took God as a witness to their words.
Likewise, by the same God I declare and swear that to those friars who have scorned the rule of Dominic there will come a mighty hunter with ferocious hounds. It is as if a servant were to say to his master: 'There have come into your garden many sheep whose meat is poisoned, whose fleeces are matted with filth, whose milk is useless, and who are very insolent in their lusts. Command them to be slaughtered, so that there will be no shortage of pasture for the profitable sheep and so that the good sheep will not be confused by the insolence of the bad.'

The master would answer him: 'Shut the entrances so that only such sheep as approved by me can get in, such sheep as it is right to foster and nourish, such as are upright and peaceful.' I tell you that some of the entrances will be shut at first, but not all of them. Later the hunter will come with his hounds and he will spare neither their fleeces from arrows nor their bodies from wounds until their life has been put to an end. Then guards will come and carefully inspect and examine the kind of sheep that get admitted to the pasture of the Lord.”

The bride said in reply: ”My Lady, do not be angry if I ask a question.
Given that the pope relaxed the austerity of the rule for them, should they be censured for eating meat or anything else set before them?” The Mother answered: ”The pope, taking into consideration the weakness and inadequacy of human nature, as put forward by some, reasonably allowed them to eat meat so that they might be more able to work and more fervent in preaching, not that they might appear lazy and lax. For this reason, we excuse the pope for permitting it.” Then the bride said: ”Dominic arranged for a habit made not of the best nor the worst cloth, but something in between. Should they be censured for wearing finer clothing?” The Mother answered: ”Dominic, who dictated his rule inspired by the Spirit of my Son, prescribed that they should not have clothing made from better or more expensive materials so as not to be criticized and branded for wearing a fine and expensive habit and become proud because of it.

He also arranged that they should not have clothing made of the poorest or roughest material so as not to be bothered too much by the roughness of their clothing when they rested after work. Instead, he arranged for them to have clothing of moderate and adequate quality that they would not grow proud over or feel vain about, but that would keep out the cold and safeguard their continual progress in a life of virtue. Therefore, we commend Dominic for his arrangements but rebuke those friars of his who make changes in their habit for the sake of vanity rather than usefulness.”

Again the bride said: ”Should those friars who build tall and sumptuous churches for your Son be rebuked? Or are they to be censured and criticized if they ask for a lot of donations in order to construct such buildings?” The Mother answered: ”When a church is wide enough to hold all the people coming into it, when its walls are tall enough that the people going into it are not crowded together, when its walls are thick and strong enough to withstand any wind, when its roof is tight and firm enough that it does not leak then they have built it sufficiently. A humble heart in a humble church is more pleasing to God than high walls in which there are bodies inside but hearts outside. Accordingly, they have no need to fill their chests with gold and silver for works of construction, for it did not do Solomon any good to have built such sumptuous buildings when he neglected to love God for whom they were being built.”

As soon as these things had been both said and heard, the older bishop, who above was said to have died, shouted out saying: ”O! O! O! My miter is gone! That which was hidden beneath it can now be seen. Where is the honorable bishop now? Where is the venerable priest? Where is the poor friar? Gone is the bishop who was anointed with oil for his apostolic office and a life of purity. Left behind is the slave of dung stained with grease. Gone is the priest who was consecrated by holy words so as to be able to transform inanimate lifeless bread into the living God. Left behind is the deceitful traitor that greedily sold him who redeemed all men in his love.

Gone is the poor friar who renounced the world through his vow. Now I stand condemned by my pride and ostentation. Yet am I compelled to say the truth: He who condemned me is a just judge. He would rather have set me free through as bitter a death as that which he suffered when he hung on the wood of the cross than that I should receive such a condemnation as I now experience - but his justice, which he cannot contravene, spoke against it.”

The bride's reply to Christ about how she is afflicted by various useless thoughts, and about how she cannot get rid of them, and Christ's reply to the bride about why God permits this, and about the usefulness of such thoughts and fears with respect to her reward, provided she detests the thoughts and has a prudent fear of God, and about how she should not make light of venial sin lest it lead to mortal sin.

Book 3 - Chapter 19

The Son speaks to the bride: ”What are you worried and anxious about?” She answered: ”I am afflicted by various useless thoughts that I cannot get rid of, and hearing about your terrible judgment upsets me.” The Son answered: ”This is truly just. Earlier you found pleasure in worldly desires against my will, but now different thoughts are allowed to come to you against your will.

But have a prudent fear of God, and put great trust in me, your God, knowing for certain that when your mind does not take pleasure in sinful thoughts but struggles against them by detesting them, then they become a purgation and a crown for the soul. But if you take pleasure in committing even a slight sin, which you know to be a sin, and you do so trusting to your own abstinence and presuming on grace, without doing penance and reparation for it, know that it can become a mortal sin. Accordingly, if some sinful pleasure of any kind comes into your mind, you should right away think about where it is heading and repent. After human nature was weakened, sin has frequently arisen out of human infirmity. There is no one who does not sin at least venially, but God has in his mercy given mankind the remedy of feeling sorrow for each sin as well as anxiety about not having made sufficient reparation for the sins for which one has made reparation.

God hates nothing so much as when you know you have sinned but do not care, trusting to your other meritorious actions, as if, because of them, God would put up with your sin, as if he could not be glorified without you, or as if he would let you do something evil with his permission, seeing all the good deeds you have done, since, even if you did a hundred good deeds for each wicked one, you still would not be able to pay God back for his goodness and love. So, then, maintain a rational fear of God and, even if you cannot prevent these thoughts, then at least bear them patiently and use your will to struggle against them. You will not be condemned because of their entering your head, unless you take pleasure in them, since it is not within your power to prevent them.

Again, maintain your fear of God in order not to fall through pride, even though you do not consent to the thoughts. Anyone who stands firm stands by the power of God alone. Thus fear of God is like the gateway into heaven. Many there are who have fallen headlong to their deaths, because they cast off the fear of God and were then ashamed to make a confession before men, although they had not been ashamed to sin before God. Therefore, I shall refuse to absolve the sin of a person who has not cared enough to ask my pardon for a small sin. In this manner, sins are increased through habitual practice, and a venial sin that could have been pardoned through contrition becomes a serious one through a person's negligence and scorn, as you can deduce from the case of this soul who has already been condemned.

After having committed a venial and pardonable sin, he augmented it through habitual practice, trusting to his other good works, without thinking that I might take lesser sins into account. Caught in a net of habitual and inordinate pleasure, his soul neither corrected nor curbed his sinful intention, until the time for his sentencing stood at the gates and his final moment was approaching. This is why, as the end approached, his conscience was suddenly agitated and painfully afflicted because he was soon to die and he was afraid to lose the little, temporary good he had loved. Up until a sinner's final moment God abides him, waiting to see if he is going to direct his free will away from his attachment to sin.

However, if a soul's will is not corrected, that soul is then confined by an end without end. What happens is that the devil, knowing that each person will be judged according to his conscience and intention, labors mightily at the end of life to distract the soul and turn it away from rectitude of intention, and God allows it to happen, since the soul refused to remain vigilant when it ought to have.

Furthermore, do not grow overconfident and presumptuous, if I call anyone my friend or servant as I once called this man. I also called Judas a friend and Nebuchadnezzar a servant. I myself said: 'You are my friends if you carry out my commandments.' In the same way, I now say: 'The people who imitate me are my friends; those who persecute me by scorning my commandments are my enemies.' After it had been said that I had found a man after my own heart, did not David commit the sin of murder? Solomon, who received such wonderful gifts and promises, sinned against goodness and, due to his ingratitude, the promise was fulfilled not in him but in me, the Son of God.

Accordingly, just as when you dictate you add a closing formula at the end, I will also add this closing formula to my locution: If anyone does my will and gives up his own, he will receive the inheritance of eternal life. He who hears my will but does not persevere in doing it, will end up like the worthless and ungrateful servant. However, you should not lose hope, if I call anyone an enemy, since as soon as an enemy changes his will for the better he will be a friend of God. Was not Judas together with the twelve when I said: 'You, my friends, who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones.' At the time Judas was indeed following me, but he will not sit with the twelve. In what way, then, have the words of God been fulfilled? I answer: God, who sees people's hearts and wills, judges and rewards according as he sees.

A human being judges according to what she or he sees on the surface. Therefore, in order that no good person should grow proud or any bad person should lose hope, God has called both good and bad to the apostolate, just as every day he calls both good and bad to higher rank so that everyone whose way of life accords with his office will be glorified in eternity. He who assumes the honor but not the burden is glorified in time and perishes in eternity. Because Judas did not follow me with a perfect heart, the words 'you who have followed me' did not apply to him, inasmuch as he did not persevere to the point of reward. However, the words did apply to those persons who were to persevere both then and in the time to come, for the Lord, for whom all things are present, sometimes says things in present time that apply to the future, and sometimes speaks about things that are going to be accomplished as if they have already been accomplished. Sometimes, too, he mixes past and future and uses the past for the future, so that no one may presume to analyze the immutable purpose of the Trinity.

Hear one thing more: 'Many are called, but few are chosen.' This man was called to the episcopate but he was not chosen, for he proved ungrateful to the grace of God. Hence, he is a bishop in name but is unworthy of his service and is numbered among those who go down but do not come up again.”


The Son of God speaks: ”Daughter, you are wondering why the one bishop died peacefully, but the other one died a horrible death when the wall fell and utterly crushed him, and he survived for a short while but with a great deal of pain. I answer you: Scripture says - no rather, I myself have said it - that the righteous person, no matter what kind of death he dies, is in the hands of God, but worldly people consider a person righteous only if his departure is peaceful and without pain or shame. God, however, recognizes as righteous the one who has been proved by longstanding temperance or who suffered for the sake of righteousness. The friends of God suffer in this world in order to receive a lesser punishment in the future or to win a greater crown in heaven.

Peter and Paul died for the sake of righteousness, although Peter died a more painful death than Paul, for he loved the flesh more than Paul; he also had to be more conformed to me through his painful death since he held the primacy of my church. Paul, however, inasmuch as he had a greater love of continence and because he had worked harder, died by the sword like a noble knight, for I arrange all things according to merit and measure. So, in God's judgment it is not how people end their lives or their horrible death that leads to their reward or condemnation, but their intention and will. The case is similar concerning these two bishops. One of them suffered more painfully and died a more terrible death. This reduced his punishment, although it did not gain him the reward of glory, because he did not suffer with a right intention. The other bishop died in glory, but this was due to my hidden justice and did not gain an eternal reward for him, because he did not rectify his intention while he was alive.”

The Mother's words to the daughter about how the talent represents the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and about how St. Benedict added to the gifts of the Holy Spirit given to him, and about how the Holy Spirit or the demonic spirit enters the human soul.

Book 3 - Chapter 20

The Mother speaks: ”Daughter, it is written that the man who received five talents earned another five. What does a talent signify if not a gift of the Holy Spirit? Some receive knowledge, others wealth, others wealthy contacts. However, everyone should yield double profits to the Lord, for example, as regards knowledge, by living usefully for themselves and instructing others, as regards wealth and other gifts, by using them rationally and charitably helping others. In this way the good abbot Benedict added to the gift of grace he had received by scorning the goods that are fleeting, by forcing his body to serve his soul, by putting nothing ahead of charity. Anxious not to let his ears be corrupted by empty talk or his eyes by seeing pleasurable sights, he fled to the desert in imitation of that man who, when he had not yet been born, recognized the coming of his dear Savior and leaped for joy in the womb of his mother.

Benedict would have gained heaven without the desert, inasmuch as the world was dead to him and his heart was completely full of God. However, it pleased God to call Benedict to the mountain so that many would come to know him and many would be inspired by his example to seek a life of perfection. This blessed man's body was like a sack of earth that enclosed the fire of the Holy Spirit and shut out the fire of the devil from his heart. Physical fire is enkindled by both air and a man's breath. Similarly, the Holy Spirit enters the human soul, either through personal inspiration or by lifting the mind up to God through some human action or divine locution. The spirit of the devil likewise visits its own people. However, the two spirits differ immeasurably, for the Holy Spirit makes the soul hot in her search for God but does not make her burn in her body. He shines his light in purity and modesty but does not darken the mind with evil. The evil Spirit, on the other hand, causes the mind to burn with carnal desires and makes it terribly embittered. He darkens the soul by making her unreflective and pushes her remorselessly toward the things of the earth.

In order that the good fire that was in Benedict might ignite many people, God called him to the mountain and, after many other flames had been called together along with him, Benedict made a great bonfire of them by the Spirit of God. He composed a rule of life for them through the Spirit of God. Through this rule many people have attained the same perfection as he. Now, however, there are many firebrands cast off from the bonfire of St. Benedict and they lie spread out everywhere, having coldness instead of heat, darkness instead of light. If they were gathered together in the fire, they would surely give off fire and heat.”

The Mother's words to her daughter, showing the greatness and perfection of the life of St. Benedict by means of a comparison; also, the soul that bears worldly fruit is represented as a fruitless tree, the pride of mind as flint, and the cold soul as crystal; and about three noteworthy sparks arising from these three things, i.e., from the crystal, the flint, and the tree.

Book 3 - Chapter 21

The Mother speaks: ”I told you before that the body of blessed Benedict was like a sack that was disciplined and ruled but did not rule. His soul was like an angel, giving off a lot of heat and flame. I will show you this by means of a comparison. It is as though there were three fires. The first of them was lit with myrrh and produced a sweet odor. The second was lit with dry kindle. It produced hot embers and a splendid blaze. The third was lit with olive oil. It produced flames, light, and heat. These three fires refer to three persons, and the three persons refer to three states in the world.

The first was the state of those who reflected on God's love and surrendered their wills into the hands of others. They accepted poverty and humility in place of worldly vanity and pride, and loved continence and purity in place of intemperance. Theirs was the fire of myrrh, for, just as myrrh is pungent but keeps demons away and quenches thirst, so too their abstinence was pungent to the body yet quenched their inordinate desires and drained away all the power of the demons.

The second state was that of those who had the following thought: 'Why do we love worldly honors? They are nothing but the air that brushes past our ears. Why do we love gold? It is nothing but yellow dirt. What is the end of the body if not rot and ashes? How does it help us to desire earthly goods?
All things are vanity. Therefore, we shall live and work for one purpose alone, that God may be glorified in us and that others may burn with love for God through our word and example.' The fire of such people was that of the dry kindle, inasmuch as they were dead to the love of the world and all of them produced hot embers of justice and the blaze of holy evangelization.

The third state was that of those with a fervent love for the passion of Christ who longed with all their hearts to die for Christ. Theirs was the fire of olive oil. The olive contains oil that gives off a scorching heat when it is burned. In the same way, these people were drenched in the oil of divine grace. Through it they produced the light of divine knowledge, the heat of fervent charity, the strength of upright conduct.

These three fires spread far and wide. The first of them was lit in hermits and religious, as described by Jerome who, inspired by the Holy Spirit, found their lives wonderful and exemplary. The second fire was lit in the confessors and doctors of the church, while the third was in the martyrs who despised their own flesh for God's sake, and others who would have despised it had they obtained help from God. Blessed Benedict was sent to people belonging to these three states or fires. He fused the three fires together in such away that the unwise were enlightened, the cold-hearted were inflamed, the fervent became more fervent still. Thus, with these fires began the Benedictine order that guided each person according to his disposition and intellectual capacity along the way of salvation and eternal happiness.

From the sack of Blessed Benedict blew the sweetness of the Holy Spirit through which many monasteries were started. However, now the Holy Spirit has left the sack of many of his brothers, for the heat of the ashes has been extinguished and the firebrands lie scattered about, giving off neither heat nor light but the smoke of impurity and greed. However, God has given me three sparks so as to bring consolation to many people. The three stand for many sparks. The first spark was obtained with a crystal from the heat and light of the sun and has already settled on the dry kindle in order that a great fire may be made from it. The second spark was obtained with hard flint.

The third spark came from a fruitless tree whose roots were growing and that was spreading its foliage. The crystal, that cold and fragile stone, represents the soul who, while she may be cold in her love for God, still seeks perfection in her heart and will and prays for God's help. Her intention thus leads her to God and earns for her an increase of trials that makes her grow cold toward base temptations, until God enlightens the heart and settles in the soul now emptied of desire, so that she no longer wants to live for anything but the glory of God. Flint represents pride. What is harder than the intellectual pride of a person who wants to be praised by everyone, yet longs to be called humble and to seem devout?

What is more loathsome than a soul that places herself ahead of everyone else in her thoughts and cannot put up with being rebuked or taught by anyone? Nevertheless, many proud persons pray humbly to God that pride and ambition be removed from their hearts. God, therefore, with the cooperation of their good will, presents adversities to their hearts and at times consolations that draw them away from worldly things and spur them on toward heavenly. The fruitless tree represents the soul that is fed on pride and bears worldly fruit and desires to have the world and all its privileges.

However, because this soul has a fear of eternal death, she uproots many of the saplings of sins she would otherwise commit if she had no such fear. Because of her fear, God draws near to the soul and inspires his grace in her so that the useless tree might become fruitful. By means of such sparks of fire, the order of Blessed Benedict, which now seems abject and abandoned to many people, should be renewed.”

The Mother's words to her daughter about a monk with a harlot's heart in his breast, and about how he apostatized from God through his own will and greed and his desertion of the angelic life.

Book 3 - Chapter 22

The Mother speaks to the bride again: ”What do you see that is blameworthy in this man here?” She answered: ”That he rarely says Mass.” The Mother said to her: ”It is not for that reason that he is to be sentenced. There are many men who, mindful of their deeds, refrain from saying Mass but are no less acceptable to me. What else do you see in him?” And she said: ”That he does not wear the habit established by blessed Benedict.” The Mother replied: ”It often happens that a custom gets started, and those who know it to be a bad custom but still follow it deserve blame. However, those who do not know the correct traditions and would even prefer a simpler habit, had it not been for the long-standing custom, are not to be so easily and thoughtlessly condemned. Listen, however, and I will tell you three reasons why he should be blamed.

First, because his heart, in which God should rest, is in the breast of harlots. Second, because he has given up the little he possessed but longs for the greater possessions of others; having promised to deny himself, he completely follows his own will and whim. Third, because God made his soul as beautiful as an angel and for that reason he should be leading an angelic life, but now his soul instead bears the image of that angel who apostatized from God through pride. People account him a great man, but God knows what sort he is before God. God is like a person who closes his fist about something and keeps it hidden from others until he opens his fist. God chooses weak creatures and keeps their crowns hidden in the present life until he rewards each person according to his deeds.”


This man was a very worldly minded abbot who cared nothing for souls and who died suddenly without the sacraments. The Holy Spirit said about him: ”O soul, you loved the earth and now the earth has received you. You were dead in your life and now you will not have my life nor be a sharer with me, since you loved the company of him who apostatized from me through pride and despised true humility.”

The answer of God the Father to the bride's prayers for sinners, and about three witnesses on earth and three in heaven, and about how the whole Trinity bears witness to the bride, and about how she is his bride through faith, like all those who follow the orthodox faith of the holy church.

Book 3 - Chapter 23

“O my most sweet God, I pray for sinners, to whose company I belong, that you deign to have mercy on them.” God the Father answered: ”I hear and know your intention, your loving entreaty will therefore be fulfilled. As John says in today's epistle, or, rather, as I say through John: 'There are three witnesses on earth, the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and three in heaven, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are your witnesses. The Spirit, who protected you in the womb of your mother, bears witness concerning your soul that you belong to God through the baptismal faith that your parents professed in your stead.

The baptismal water bears witness that you are the daughter of Christ's human nature through regeneration and the healing of original sin. The blood of Jesus Christ that redeemed you bears witness that you are the daughter of God and removed from the power of the devil by the sacraments of the church. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, three Persons but one in substance and power, we bear witness that you are ours through faith, just as are all those who follow the orthodox faith of the holy church. And so that you give witness that you want to do our will, go and receive the body and blood of Christ's human nature from the hand of the priest in order that the Son may bear witness that you belong to him whose body you receive to strengthen your soul. The Father, who is in the Son, bears witness that you belong to the Father and to the Son. The Holy Spirit, who is in the Father and the Son, the Spirit being in both, bears witness that, through true faith and love, you belong to the Three Persons and One God.”

To the prayers of the bride for infidels, Jesus Christ replies that God is glorified through the evil of evil men, although not by their own power and volition; he illustrates this for her by means of an allegory in which a maiden represents the church or the soul and her nine brothers represent the nine orders of angels, the king represents Christ, while his three sons represent the three states of mankind.

Book 3 - Chapter 24

“O my Lord Jesus Christ, I pray that your faith may be spread among the infidels, and that good people may be set even more aflame with your love and that wicked people may convert.” The Son answered: ”You are grieved because little honor is given to God and with all your heart you wish that God's honor were perfected. I will offer you an allegory that will help you to understand that honor is given to God even through the evil of evil men, although not by their own power and volition. Once there was a wise and beautiful, rich and virtuous maiden. She had nine brothers, each of whom loved her as his very heart, and you might say that each one's heart was in her. In the kingdom where the maiden lived, there was a law that said that whoever showed honor would be honored, whoever robbed would be robbed, whoever committed rape would be beheaded.

The king of the realm had three sons. The first son loved the maiden and offered her golden shoes and a golden belt, a ring for her hand and a crown for her head. The second son coveted the property of the maiden and robbed her. The third son coveted her maidenhood and sought to rape her. The king's three sons were captured by the maiden's nine brothers and presented to the king. Her brothers told him: 'Your sons desired our sister.

The first honored and loved her with his whole heart. The second one despoiled her. The third was ready to risk his life just to rape her. They were seized at the very moment when they were fully intent on carrying out what we have said.' Once the king heard this, he answered them, saying: 'They are all my sons, and I love all of them equally. However, I neither can nor wish to go against justice. Instead I intend to judge my sons as I would my servants. You, my son, who wanted to honor the maiden, come and receive honor and the crown along with your father! You, my son, who coveted the maiden's property and snatched it away, you shall go to prison until the stolen goods have been restored. Indeed, I have heard evidence concerning you that you were sorry for your crime and would have returned the stolen goods, but were prevented from doing so by your sudden and unexpected arrest. For this reason you will remain incarcerated until the last farthing is restored. But you, my son, who made every attempt to rape this maiden, are not sorry for your crime.

Therefore, your punishment will be multiplied by the number of ways in which you attempted to deflower the maiden.' All the brothers of the maiden answered: 'May you, the judge, be praised for your justice! For you would never have issued such a judgment had there not been virtue in you and fairness in your justice and mercy in your fairness.'
The maiden symbolizes the holy church. She is by nature outstanding by reason of her faith, beautiful by reason of the seven sacraments, laudable by reason of her conduct and virtue, lovable by reason of her fruits, for she reveals the true way to eternity. The holy church has three sons, so to speak, and these three stand for many. The first are those who love God with their whole heart. The second are those who love temporal goods for their own honor. The third are those who put their own will ahead of God. The maidenhood of the church represents human souls created solely by divine power.

Accordingly, the first son offers golden shoes by having contrition for his misdeeds, omissions, and sins. He offers clothes by following the precepts of the law and keeping the evangelical counsels as far as possible. He puts together a belt by firmly resolving to persevere in continence and chastity. He places a ring on her hand by firmly believing in what the catholic church teaches about the future judgment and life everlasting. The gem of the ring is hope, steadfastly hoping that no sin is so abominable that it cannot be wiped away through penance and the resolution to improve. He puts a crown on her head by having true charity. Just as a crown has various jewels, so too charity has various virtues. And the head of the soul or, rather, of the church is my Body. Whoever loves and reverences it is rightly called a son of God.

A person who loves the holy church and his own soul in such away has nine brothers, that is, the nine orders of angels, for he will be their companion and fellow in eternal life. The angels embrace the holy church with all their love, as if she were in the heart of each one of them. It is not stones and walls that make up the holy church but the souls of the righteous, and, for this reason, the angels rejoice over their honor and progress as though over their own.

The second brother or, rather, son, represents those who reject the authority of the holy church and live for worldly honor and the love of the flesh, who deform the beauty of virtue and live after their own desires, but repent toward the end and are sorry for their evil deeds. They must go to purgatory until they can be reconciled to God through the works and prayers of the church. The third son represents those who are a scandal to their own soul, not caring whether they perish forever, as long as they can carry out their desires. The nine orders of angels seek justice because of these people, inasmuch as they refuse to be converted through penance.

Thus, when God delivers his sentence, the angels praise him for his unbending fairness. When God's honor is thus perfected, they rejoice over his might, because even the evil of evil men serves to give him honor. This is why, when you see immoral persons, you should have compassion on them and rejoice over the eternal honor of God. God does not will anything evil, for he is the Creator of all things and the only being truly good in himself, but, as a most just judge, he still permits many things to be done in regard to which he is honored in heaven and on earth on account of his fairness and his hidden goodness.”

The Mother's lament to her daughter that the most innocent lamb, Jesus Christ, is neglected by his creatures in modern times.

Book 3 - Chapter 25

The Mother speaks: ”My lament is that on this day the most innocent lamb was carried who best knew how to walk. On this day, that little boy was silent who best knew how to speak. On this day, the most innocent little boy who never sinned was circumcised. This is why, although I cannot be angry, still I seem to be angry because the supreme Lord who became a little boy is forgotten and neglected by his creatures.”

Christ's explanation to the bride of the ineffable mystery of the Trinity, and about how diabolical sinners obtain God's mercy through contrition and a will to improve, and his response as to how he has mercy on everyone, both Jews and others, and about the double judgment, that is, the sentence for those who are to be condemned and for those who are to be saved.

Book 3 - Chapter 26

The Son speaks: ”I am the Creator of heaven and earth, one with the Father and the Holy Spirit, true God. The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God, not three gods but one God. Now you might ask, if there are three Persons, why are there not three gods? My answer is that God is nothing other than power itself, wisdom itself, goodness itself, from which come all power beneath or above the heavens, all conceivable wisdom and the kindness. Thus, God is triune and one, triune in Persons, one in nature. The power and the wisdom is the Father, from whom all things come and who is prior to all, deriving his power from nowhere else but himself for all eternity.

The power and wisdom are also the Son, equal to the Father, deriving his power not from himself but as begotten ineffably from the Father, the beginning from the beginning, never separated from the Father. The power and wisdom are also the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, eternal with the Father and the Son, equal in majesty and might. Thus, one God and three Persons. The three have the same nature, the same operation and will, the same glory and might.

God is thus one in essence, but the Persons are distinct in the proper quality of each. The Father is wholly in the Son and Spirit, and the Son is wholly in the Father and Spirit, and the Spirit is wholly in both, in one divine nature, not as prior and posterior but in an ineffable way. In God there is neither prior nor posterior, nothing greater or less than another, but the Trinity is wholly and ineffably equal. Well has it been written that God is great and greatly to be praised.

However, now I can complain that I am little praised and unknown to many people, because everyone is following his own will but few follow mine. Be you steadfast and humble, and do not exalt yourself in your mind if I show you other people's trials, and do not betray their names unless you are instructed to do so. Their trials are not shown to you to shame them but in order that they may be converted and come to know God's justice and mercy. Nor should you shun them as condemned, for even if I should say today that a certain person is wicked, should he call on me tomorrow with contrition and a will to improve, I am prepared to forgive him. And that person whom I yesterday called wicked, today, due to his contrition, I declare him to be so dear a friend of mine that if his contrition remains steadfast, I forgive him not only his sin but even remit the punishment of sin.

You might understand this with a metaphor. It is as though there were two drops of quicksilver and both were heading toward each other in haste. If nothing but a single atom remained to keep them from joining, still God would be powerful enough to prevent them from coming together. Likewise, if any sinner were so rooted in diabolical deeds that he was standing at the very brink of destruction, he could still obtain forgiveness and mercy, if he called upon God with contrition and a will to improve. Now, given that I am so merciful, you might ask why I am not merciful toward pagans and Jews, some of whom, if they were instructed in the true faith, would be ready to lay down their lives for God. My response is that I have mercy on everyone, on pagans as well as Jews, nor is any creature beyond my mercy.

With leniency and mercy I will judge both those people who, learning that their faith is not the true one, fervently long for the true faith, as well as those people who believe the faith they profess to be the best one, because no other faith has ever been preached to them, and who wholeheartedly do what they can. You see, there is a double judgment, namely the one for those to be condemned and the one for those to be saved. The sentence of condemnation for Christians will have no mercy in it. To them will belong eternal punishment and shadows and a will hardened against God. The sentence for those Christians to be saved will be the vision of God and glorification in God and goodwill toward God. Excluded from these rewards are pagans and Jews as well as bad and false Christians. Although they did not have the right faith, they did have conscience as their judge and believed that the one whom they worshipped and offended was God.

But the ones whose intention and actions were and are for justice and against sin will, along with the less bad Christians, share a punishment of mercy in the midst of sufferings due to their love of justice and their hatred of sin. However, they will not have consolation in the service of glory and of the vision of God. They will not behold him due to their lack of baptism, because some temporal circumstance or some hidden decision of God made them draw back from profitably seeking and obtaining salvation. If there was nothing that held them back from seeking the true God and being baptized, neither fear nor the effort required nor loss of goods or privileges, but only some impediment that overcame their human weakness, then I, who saw Cornelius and the centurion while they were still not baptized, know how to give them a higher and more perfect reward in accordance with their faith.

One thing is the ignorance of sinners, another that of those who are pious but impeded. Likewise, too, one thing is the baptism of water, another that of blood, another that of wholehearted desire. God, who knows the hearts of all people, knows how to take all of these circumstances into account. I am begotten without beginning, begotten eternally from the beginning. I was born in time at the end of times. From the commencement I have known how to give individual persons the rewards they deserve and I give to each according as he deserves. Not the least little good done for the glory of God will go without its reward. This is why you should give many thanks to God that you were born of Christian parents in the age of salvation, for many people have longed to obtain and see that which is offered to Christians and yet have not obtained it.”

The bride's prayer to the Lord for Rome, and about the vast multitude of holy martyrs resting in Rome, and about the three degrees of Christian perfection, and about a vision of hers and how Christ appears to her and expounds and explains the vision to her.

Book 3 - Chapter 27

“O Mary, I have been unkind, but still I call you to my aid. I pray to you that you may graciously pray for the excellent and holy city of Rome. I can physically see that some of the churches are abandoned where the bones of the saints lie in rest. Some of them are inhabited, but the heart and conduct of their rectors are far from God. Procure mercy for them, for I have heard it is written that there are seven thousand martyrs for any day in the year at Rome. Although their souls do not receive less honor in heaven because their bones are held in contempt here on earth, nevertheless I ask you that greater honor may be given to your saints and to the relics of your saints here on earth and that the devotion of the people may be stirred up in this way.”

The Mother answered: ”If you measured out a plot of land a hundred feet in length and as much in width and sowed it so full of pure grains of wheat that the grains were so close together that there was just the space of a thumb left between them, and even if each grain gave fruit a hundredfold, there would still be more Roman martyrs and confessors from the time when Peter came to Rome in humility until Celestine left from the throne of pride and returned to his solitary life.

But I am referring to those martyrs and confessors who against infidelity preached true fidelity and against pride preached humility and who died or were ready in intention to die for the truth of the faith. Peter and many others were so wise and zealous in spreading the word of God that they would readily have died for each and every person if they had been able. However, they were also concerned lest they be taken suddenly from the presence of those people whom they nourished with their words of consolation and preaching, for they desired to save souls more than to save their own lives and reputation. They were also prudent and hence went to work in secret during times of persecution in order to win and gather together a greater number of souls. Between these two, I mean, between Peter and Celestine, not everyone has been good, but not everyone has been bad either.

Now let us set up three degrees or ranks, as you yourself were doing: positive, comparative, and superlative, or good, better, and best. To the first rank belong those whose thoughts were the following: 'We believe whatever the holy church teaches. We do not want to defraud anyone but to give back whatever has been fraudulently taken, and we want to serve God with all our heart.' There were people like that in the time of Romulus, the founder of Rome, and, after their own beliefs, they thought as follows: 'We understand and recognize through creatures that God is the Creator of all things and therefore we want to love him above all else.' There were also many who thought like this: 'We have heard from the Hebrews that the true God has revealed himself through manifest miracles. So, if we only knew where to place our trust, we would place it there.' We can say that all of these belonged to the first rank.

At the appointed time, Peter arrived in Rome. He raised some people to the positive rank, others to the comparative rank, and still others to the superlative. To the positive rank belonged those who accepted the true faith and lived in matrimony or in another honorable state. To the comparative rank belonged those who gave up their possessions out of love for God, and set others the example of a good life in words and example and deed and did not put anything ahead of Christ. To the superlative rank belonged those who offered their physical lives out of love for God. But let us make a search of these ranks to find out where there is now a more fervent love of God. Let us search among the knights and the learned. Let us search among the religious and those who have scorned the world. These people would be thought to belong to the comparative and superlative ranks. Yet, indeed, very few are found.

There is no life more austere than the life of a knight, if he truly follows his calling. While a monk is obliged to wear a cowl, a knight is obliged to wear something heavier, namely, a coat of mail. While it is hard for a monk to fight against the will of the flesh, it is harder for a knight to go forth among armed enemies. While a monk must sleep on a hard bed, it is harder still for the knight to sleep with his weapons. While a monk finds abstinence a burden and trouble, it is harder for the knight to be constantly burdened by fear for his life. Christian knighthood was not established out of greed for worldly possessions but in order to defend the truth and spread the true faith. For this reason, the knightly rank and the monastic rank should be thought to correspond to the superlative or comparative rank. However, those in every rank have deserted their honorable calling, since the love for God has been perverted into worldly greed. If but a single florin were offered them, most of them in all three ranks would keep silent about the truth rather than lose the florin and speak the truth.”

The bride speaks again: ”I also saw what looked like many gardens on earth. I saw roses and lilies in the gardens. In one spacious plot of land I saw a field a hundred feet in length and as much in width. In each foot of land there were seven grains of wheat sown and each grain gave fruit a hundredfold.
Then I heard a voice saying: 'O Rome, Rome, your walls have crumbled. Your city gates are therefore unguarded. Your vessels are being sold. Your altars have therefore been abandoned. The living sacrifice along with the incense of matins is burned in the portico. The sweet and holy fragrance does not come from the holy of holies.' ”

At once the Son of God appeared and said to the bride: ”I will tell you the meaning of the things you have seen. The land you saw represents the entire territory where the Christian faith is now. The gardens represent those places where God's saints received their crowns. However, in paganism, that is, in Jerusalem and in other places, there were many of God's elect, but their places have not been shown to you now. The field that is a hundred paces in length and as much in width stands for Rome. If all the gardens of the whole world were to be brought alongside Rome, Rome would certainly be as great as to the number of martyrs (I am speaking materially), because it is the place chosen for the love of God.

The wheat you saw in each foot of land represents those who have entered heaven through mortification of the flesh, contrition, and innocence of life. The few roses represent the martyrs who are red from the blood they shed in different regions. The lilies are the confessors who preached and confirmed the holy faith by word and deed. Today I can say of Rome what the prophet said of Jerusalem: 'Once righteousness lodged in her and her princes were princes of peace. Now she has turned to dross and her princes have become murderers.'

O Rome, if you knew your days, you would surely weep and not rejoice. Rome was in olden days like a tapestry dyed in beautiful colors and woven with noble threads. Its soil was dyed in red, that is, in the blood of martyrs, and woven, that is, mixed with the bones of the saints. Now her gates are abandoned, in that their defenders and guardians have turned to avarice. Her walls are thrown down and left unguarded, in that no one cares that souls are being lost. Rather, the clergy and the people, who are the walls of God, have scattered away to work for carnal advantage. The sacred vessels are sold with scorn, in that God's sacraments are administered for money and worldly favors.

The altars are abandoned, in that the priest who celebrates with the vessels has hands empty as to love for God but keeps his eyes on the collection; although he has God in his hands, his heart is empty of God, for it is full of the vain things of the world. The holy of holies, where the highest sacrifice used to be consumed, represents the desire to see and enjoy God. From this desire, there should rise up love for God and neighbor and the fragrance of temperance and virtue. However, the sacrifice is now consumed in the portico, that is, in the world, in that the love for God has completely turned into worldly vanity and lack of temperance.

Such is Rome, as you have seen it physically. Many altars are abandoned, the collection is spent in taverns, and the people who give to it have more time for the world than for God. But you should know that countless souls ascended into heaven from the time of humble Peter until Boniface ascended the throne of pride. Yet Rome is still not without friends of God. If they were given some help, they would cry out to the Lord and he would have mercy on them.”

The Virgin instructs the bride about knowing how to love and about four cities where four loves are found and about which of these is properly called perfect love.

Book 3 - Chapter 28

The Mother speaks to the bride, saying: ”Daughter, do you love me?” She answers: ”My Lady, teach me to love, for my soul is defiled with false love, seduced by a deadly poison, and cannot understand true love.” The Mother says: ”I will teach you. There are four cities where there are four kinds of love, that is, if we are to call each of them love, given that no love can properly be found except where God and the soul are united in the true union of the virtues. The first city is the city of trial. This is the world.
A man is placed there to be tested as to whether he loves God or not.

This is in order that he may come to know his own weakness and acquire the virtues by which he may return to glory, so that, having been cleansed on earth, he may receive a glorious crown in heaven. One finds disordered love in this city, because the body is loved more than the soul, because there is a more fervent desire for temporal than spiritual good, because vice is honored and virtue despised, because travels abroad are more appreciated than one's home country, because a little mortal being gets more respect and honor than God whose reign is everlasting.

The second city is the city of cleansing where the dirt of the soul is washed away. God has willed to set up places where a person who has become proud in the negligent use of his freedom yet without losing his fear of God may be cleansed before receiving his crown. One finds imperfect love in this city, inasmuch as God is loved because of a person's hope of being released from captivity but not out of an ardent affection. This is due to weariness and bitterness in atoning one's guilt. The third city is the city of sorrow. This is hell. Here one finds a love for every kind of evil and impurity, a love for every kind of envy and obstinacy. God governs this city as well. This he does by means of balanced justice, the due moderation of punishments, the restraint of evil, and the fairness of the sentences that takes each sinner's merits into account.

Some of the condemned are greater sinners, others lesser. The conditions for their punishment and retribution are set up accordingly. Although all the condemned are enclosed in darkness, not all of them experience it in one and the same way. Darkness differs from darkness, horror from horror, hell-fire from hell-fire. God's rule is one of justice and mercy everywhere, even in hell. Thus, those who have sinned deliberately have their particular punishment, those who have sinned out of weakness have a different one, those who are being held only because of the damage done by original sin have a different one again. While the torment of these latter consists in the lack of the beatific vision and of the light of the elect, still they come close to mercy and joy in the sense that they do not experience horrible punishments, since they bear no effects of any evil deeds of their own doing. Otherwise, if God did not ordain the number and limit of the punishments, the devil would never show any limits in tormenting them.

The fourth city is the city of glory. Here one finds perfect love and the ordered charity that desires nothing but God or but for the sake of God. Hence, if you would reach the perfection of this city, your love needs four qualities: it must be ordered, pure, true, and perfect. Your love is ordered when you love the body only for the sake of sustaining yourself, when you love the world without superfluities, your neighbor for God's sake, your friend for the sake of purity of life, and your enemy for the sake of the reward. Love is pure when sin is not loved alongside virtue, when bad habits are scorned, when sin is not taken lightly.

Love is true when you love God with all your heart and affections, when you take the glory and fear of God into prior consideration in all your actions, when you commit not the least little sin while trusting to your good deeds, when you practice temperance prudently without growing weak from too much fervor, when you do not have an inclination to sin out of cowardice or ignorance of temptations. Love is perfect when nothing is as enjoyable to a person as God. This kind of love begins in the present but is consummated in heaven. Love, then, this perfect and true kind of love! Everyone who does not have it shall be cleansed, no matter whether he is faithful or fervent or a child or baptized. Otherwise he will go to the city of horror.

Just as God is one, so too there is one faith, one baptism, one perfection of glory and reward in the church of Peter. Accordingly, anyone who longs to reach the one God must have one and the same love and will as the one God. Miserable are those who say: 'It is enough for me to be the least in heaven. I do not want to be perfect.' What a senseless thought! How can someone who is imperfect be there where everyone is perfect either through innocence of life or the innocence of childhood or by cleansing or by faith and goodwill?”

The bride's praise for the Virgin containing an allegory about Solomon's temple and the unexplainable truth of the unity of the divine and human natures, and about how the temples of priests are painted with vanity.

Book 3 - Chapter 29

“Blessed are you, Mary, Mother of God. You are Solomon's temple whose walls were of gold, whose roof shone brightly, whose floor was paved with precious gems, whose whole array was shining, whose whole interior was fragrant and delightful to behold. In every way you are like the temple of Solomon where the true Salomon walked and sat and where he placed the ark of glory and the bright lamp. You, Blessed Virgin, are the temple of that Salomon who made peace between God and man, who reconciled sinners, who gave life to the dead and freed the poor from their oppressor. Your body and soul became the temple of the Godhead. They were a roof for God's love, beneath which the Son of God lived with you in joy after having proceeded from the Father.

The floor of the temple was your life arrayed in the careful practice of the virtues. No privilege was lacking to you, but everything you had was stable, humble, devout, and perfect. The walls of the temple were foursquare, for you were not troubled by any shame, you were not proud about any of your privileges, no impatience disturbed you, you aimed at nothing but the glory and love of God. The paintings of your temple were the constant inspirations of the Holy Spirit that raised your soul so high that there is no virtue in any other creature that is not more fully and perfectly in you. God walked in this temple when he poured his sweet presence into your limbs. He rested in you when the divine and human natures became joined.

Blessed are you, Virgin most blessed! In you God almighty became a little boy, the Lord most ancient became a tiny child, God the eternal and invisible Creator became a visible creature. I beg you, therefore, since you are the kindest and most powerful Lady, look upon me and have mercy on me! You are indeed the Mother of Solomon, although not of him who was the son of David but of him who is the Father of David and the Lord of that Solomon who built the wonderful temple that truly prefigured you. A son will listen to his Mother, especially to so great a Mother as you. Your son Solomon was, as it were, once asleep in you.

Entreat him, then, that he may be wakeful and watch over me so that no sinful pleasure may sting me, so that my contrition for sins may be lasting, so that I may be dead to the love of the world, patient in perseverance, fruitful in penance. There is no virtue in me but there is this prayer: 'Have mercy, Mary!' My temple is completely the opposite of yours. It is dark with vice, muddied with lust, ruined by the worms of desire, unsteady due to pride, ready to fall due to worldly vanity.”

The Mother answered: ”Blessed be God who has inspired your heart to offer this greeting to me so that you may understand how much goodness and sweetness there is in God. But why do you compare me to Solomon and to the temple of Solomon, when I am the Mother of him whose lineage has neither beginning nor end, of him who is said to have neither father nor mother, that is, of Melchisedech? He is said to have been a priest and it is to priests that the temple of God is entrusted, which is why I am Virgin and Mother of the high priest. And yet, I tell you that I am both the mother of King Solomon and the Mother of the peace-making priest, for the Son of God, who is also my Son, is both priest and King of kings.

It was indeed in my temple that he dressed himself spiritually in the priestly garb in which he offered a sacrifice for the world. In the royal city he was crowned with a royal but cruel crown. Outside the city, like a mighty warrior, he held the field and kept the war away. My grievance is that this same Son of mine is now forgotten and neglected by priests and kings. The kings pride themselves on their palaces, their armies, their worldly successes and honors. The priests grow proud of the goods and possessions that belong to souls. You said the temple was painted in gold. But the temples of priests are painted in worldly vanity and curiosity, since simony rules at the highest levels. The ark of the covenant has been taken away, the lamp of the virtues extinguished, the table of devotion abandoned.”

The bride answered: ”O Mother of mercy, have mercy on them and pray for them!” The Mother said to her: ”From the beginning God so loved his own that not only are they heard when they pray for themselves, but others also experience the effects of their prayers thanks to them. Two things are necessary if prayers for others are to be heard, namely the intention of giving up sin and the intention of making progress in virtue. My prayers will benefit anyone who has both of these.”

Saint Agnes's words to the bride about the love the bride should have for the Virgin, using the metaphor of flowers, and the glorious Virgin's description of God's boundless and everlasting kindness as compared to our lack of kindness and ingratitude, and about how the friends of God should not lose their peace in the midst of hardship.

Book 3 - Chapter 30

Blessed Agnes speaks to the bride, saying: ”My daughter, love the Mother of mercy. She is like the flower or reed shaped like a sword. This flower has two sharp extremities and a graceful tip. In height and width it excels all other flowers. Similarly, Mary is the flower of flowers, a flower that grew in a valley and extended over all the mountains. A flower, I say, that was raised in Nazareth and spread itself on Mount Lebanon. This flower had, first of all, height, in the sense that the blessed Queen of heaven excels every creature in dignity and power. Mary also had two sharp edges or leaves, that is, the sorrow in her heart over her Son's passion along with her steadfast resistance to the attacks of the devil by never consenting to sin.

The old man prophesied truly when he said: 'A sword shall pierce your soul. In a spiritual sense she received as many sword-strokes as the number of wounds and sores she saw her Son receive and that she also had already foreseen. Mary had also a great width, I mean, her mercy. She is and was so kind and merciful that she preferred to suffer any hardship rather than let souls be lost. United now with her Son, she has not forgotten her native goodness but, rather, extends her mercy to all, even to the worst of men. Just as the sun brightens and sets ablaze the heavens and earth, so too there is no one who does not experience Mary's sweet kindness, if he asks for it. Mary also had a graceful tip, I mean, her humility.

Her humility made her pleasing to the angel when she called herself the Lord's handmaid, although she was being chosen to be his Lady. She conceived the Son of God in humility, not wanting to please the proud. She ascended the highest throne through humility, loving nothing but God himself. Come forward, then, Conduit, and greet the Mother of mercy, for she has now arrived!”

Then Mary appeared and replied: ”Agnes, you used a noun, add an adjective, too!” Agnes said to her: ”I might say 'most beautiful' or 'most virtuous,' for that belongs rightfully to no one but you, the Mother of everyone's salvation.” The Mother of God answered Blessed Agnes: ”You speak truthfully, for I am the most powerful of all. Therefore, I myself will add an adjective and a noun, namely 'Conduit' of the Holy Spirit. Come, Conduit, and listen to me! You are sad because this saying is bandied about among men: 'Let us live as we like, since God is easily pleased. Let us make use of the world and its honor while we can, since the world was made for the sake of mankind.' Indeed, my daughter, a saying like that does not come from love of God nor does it tend or lead toward the love of God. However, God does not forget his love because of it but in every hour displays his kindness in return for human ingratitude. He is like a craftsman crafting some great work. At times he heats up the iron, at times he lets it cool. God is the supreme craftsman who made the world out of nothing and has shown his love to Adam and his posterity.

But the human race cooled down to such an extent that they committed enormous crimes and almost regarded God as nothing. For that reason, God had mercy and gave a benevolent warning first, but then revealed his justice by means of the flood. After the flood, God made his pact with Abraham, showing him signs of affection, and led his children by means of great signs and wonders. He gave the law to his people from his own lips, confirming his words and precepts by the most evident of signs. As time went by, again the people grew cold and fell into such insanity that they started to worship idols. Wanting to heat up the cold-hearted once more, God in his kindness sent his own Son into the world.

He taught the true way to heaven and gave an example of true humility to imitate. Although many have now quite forgotten him in their neglect, he still displays and reveals his merciful words. However, things will not be accomplished all at once, no more now than before. Prior to the coming of the flood, the people were warned first and were given time for repentance. Similarly, before Israel entered the promised land, the people were first tested and the promise was delayed for a time. God could have led the people for forty days without delaying for forty years, but his justice demanded that the ingratitude of the people should become apparent and that God's mercy should be made manifest so as to render his future people so much the more humble.

It would be great audacity to ask why God made his people suffer so much or why there can be eternal punishment, given that a life in sin cannot last forever. It would be as great audacity as to try to reason out and comprehend the eternity of God. God is eternal and incomprehensible. His justice and recompensation is eternal, his mercy is beyond understanding. If God had not already shown justice to the first angels, how would we know of his justice and his fair judgment of everything?

If, again, he had not had mercy on humanity by creating it and then freeing it through innumerable miracles, how would we know that his goodness was so great or his love so immense and so perfect? Because God is eternal, his justice is eternal and there is neither increase nor decrease in it. It is as when someone plans ahead to do his work in such a way and on such a day.

When God exercises his justice or mercy, he manifests it by accomplishing it, since present, past, and future are known to him from eternity.
God's friends should persevere patiently in the love of God and not lose their peace, even though they may see worldly men and women prospering. God is like a good washing-woman who puts the dirty clothes in the waves to make them cleaner and brighter by the motion of the water, paying close attention to the water currents so that the clothes do not sink beneath the waves. Likewise, God places his friends in the waves of poverty and hardship in the present time in order to cleanse them for eternal life, while keeping close watch so that they are not plunged into excessive sorrow or unbearable hardship.”

Christ's words to the bride offering the admirable allegory of a doctor and king, and about how the doctor symbolizes Christ, and about how those whom people think will be condemned are frequently saved while those whom people or worldly opinion think will be saved are condemned.

Book 3 - Chapter 31

The Son speaks to the bride, saying: ”A doctor came to a distant and unknown realm in which the king did not rule but was ruled, because he had the heart of a hare. Seated on his throne, he seemed like an ass with a crown. His people devoted themselves to gluttony, forgetting honesty and justice, and hating everyone who spoke to them about the good that awaited in the future. When the doctor presented himself to the king, saying he was from a lovely country and affirming that he had come because of his knowledge of human infirmities, the king, in wonder at the man and his words, answered:

'I have two prisoners to be beheaded tomorrow. One of them can scarcely breathe, but the other is more robust and stouter now than when he entered prison. Go to them, look at their faces and see which of them is in better health.' After the doctor had gone and examined them, he said to the king: 'The man whom you say is robust is almost a corpse and will not survive. As for the other, however, there is good hope.' The king asked him: 'How do you know that?'

The doctor said: 'Because the first man is full of harmful humors and vapor and cannot be cured. The other man, who is exhausted, can easily be saved with some fresh air.' Then the king said: 'I shall call together my noblemen and counselors so that they may see your wisdom and skill and you will win honor in their sight.' The doctor said to him: 'No, do that by no means.

You know your people are jealous of honor. If they cannot persecute a man with their actions, they destroy him with talk. Wait and I will make my wisdom known to you alone in private. This is how I have been taught. I have learned to display more wisdom in private than in public. I do not seek to win glory in your land of darkness, but I glory in the light of my fatherland. Besides, the healing time will not come until the south wind begins to blow and the sun appears at the meridian.' The king to him: 'How can that happen in my country? The sun rarely rises here, since we are beyond the climates, and the north wind always prevails among us. What good to me is your wisdom or such a long delay for healing? I see that you are full of talk.' The doctor answered: 'The wise man must not be hasty. However, in order that I may not seem to you to be unreliable and unfriendly, let me take charge of these two men. I will take them to the borders of your kingdom where the air is more suitable, and then you will see how much actions are worth and how much talk is worth.'

The king said to him: 'We are occupied with greater and more useful matters. Why do you distract us? Or what benefit does your teaching confer on us? We have our delight in present goods, in the things we see and own. We do not aspire to future and uncertain rewards. But, take the men, as you request. If you manage to show us something great and wonderful through them, we ourselves will proclaim you glorious and have you proclaimed glorious.' So he took the men and led them off to a temperate clime. One of them passed away and died, but the other, refreshed by the gentle air, recuperated.

I am that doctor who sent my words to the world in my longing to cure souls. Although I see the infirmities of many people, I only showed you two through whom you might admire my justice and mercy. I showed you one person whom the devil secretly possessed and who was to receive an eternal punishment. However, to people his works seemed to be righteous and were praised as such. I showed you a second person whom the devil openly controlled, but whom I said was to be healed in his time, although not in away open for men to see, as you were thinking. It was divine justice that the evil spirit began to control him by degrees, but the same justice also demanded that it should leave him by degrees, as in fact it did leave him up until the soul had been released from the body. Then the devil accompanied the soul to her judgment.

The judge said to him: 'You have chastised and sifted her like wheat. Now it belongs to me to crown her with a double crown because of her confession. Go away from the soul whom you chastised for so long.' And he said: 'Come, happy soul, perceive my glory and joy with the senses of your spirit!' To the other soul he said: 'Since you did not have the true faith and yet were honored and praised as being one of the faithful, and since you did not have the perfect deeds of the righteous, you will not have the wages of the faithful. During your lifetime you wondered why I would die for you and why I humbled myself for you.

Now I answer you that the faith of the holy church is true and leads souls upward, while my passion and blood allows them to enter heaven. Therefore, your faithlessness and your false love will press you down into nothingness, and you will be nothing with respect to eternal spiritual goods. As to why the devil did not go out of that other man in the sight of everyone, I answer: 'This world is like a lowly hovel compared to the tabernacle that God inhabits, and the people provoke God to anger. This is why he went out by degrees just as he had entered him.' ”

The Virgin's words to the bride that show in an allegory how God the Father chose her from among the saints to be his mother and the port of salvation.

Book 3 - Chapter 32

The Mother speaks to the bride saying: ”A certain person searching for precious stones came upon a magnet. He took it in his hand and kept it in his treasury. With its help he led his ship to a safe port. Likewise, my Son searched among the many precious stones that are the saints, but he chose me especially as his mother in order that by my help humanity might be led to the port of heaven. As a magnet attracts iron to itself, so too I attract hard hearts to God. This is why you should not be troubled if your heart sometimes feels hard, because this is for your greater reward.”

The Son's words to the bride showing through the example of two men how he judges by the interior and not by the exterior.

Book 3 - Chapter 33

The Son of God speaks to the bride: ”You are wondering about two men, one of whom was like a square-set stone, the other like a pilgrim to Jerusalem. However, neither of them achieved what you expected. The first man to whom you were sent was like a square-set stone, firm in his convictions but, like Thomas, piously doubting. Accordingly, since it was not yet the time when wicked deeds were fulfilled, he tasted the wine but did not drink it. Regarding the second man, I said that he would be a fellow traveler to Jerusalem. This happened so that you might learn the true state of the man who was reputed to be righteous and holy. He is a religious in his habit and a monk in his profession but an apostate in his ways, a priest by his rank but a slave to sin, a pilgrim by reputation but a vagabond in intention, rumored to be bound for Jerusalem but really headed for Babylon. Moreover, he left in disobedience and against the apostolic rules.

Also, he is so infected with heresy that he believes and says that he will become pope in the future and bring about a complete restoration. His books give evidence of this as well. This is why he will die a sudden death and, if he does not beware, he will join the company of the father of lies. Thus, you should not be troubled if certain things are said in an obscure way or if predictions do not turn out as you expect, since God's words can be understood in various ways. Whenever this happens I will point out the truth.
But I am God, the true pilgrim bound for Jerusalem. I myself will be your fellow traveler.”


The Spirit of God speaks: ”You have heard that the man I told you was like a square-set stone and a pious doubter has died. May you know that he will not be in the number of those who tempted God in the desert nor with those who sought a sign like that of the prophet Jonah, nor with those who stirred up persecution against me. No, he will be with those who had zeal and charity although not yet perfectly.”

The Mother's words to her daughter symbolizing the soul by a ring and the body by a cloth, and about how the soul should be purified through discretion and the body should be cleansed but not killed by abstinence.

Book 3 - Chapter 34

The Mother speaks: ”A ring is given to someone but it is too tight for his finger. So he asks advice of an enemy as to what should be done. The enemy answers him: 'Cut the finger off so the ring will fit on it.' A friend says to him: 'Certainly not! Instead, make the ring wider with a hammer.' Someone wants to filter and strain a drink for a powerful lord by using an unclean cloth and asks advice of an enemy. He answers: 'Cut everything that is unclean from the cloth and use the clean parts you find to filter your lord's drink.'

A friend tells him: 'By no means do that! Instead, the cloth should be washed and cleansed first and then the drink should be filtered!' The same thing applies even in spiritual matters. The ring represents the soul, the cloth represents the body. The soul, which should be placed on God's finger, should be made wider with the hammer of discretion and purification. The body should not be killed but cleansed through abstinence so that the words of God can be spread abroad by means of it.”

John the Evangelist's words to the bride about how no good deed goes unrewarded, and about how the Bible excels all other writings, and about the king - robber, traitor, prodigal, and so forth, and about St. John's advice to the king, and about how he should scorn riches and honors for the sake of God.

Book 4 - Chapter 1

A male person appeared to the bride. His hair seemed as if shorn with reproach; his body was drenched in oil and completely naked, though he was in no way ashamed. He said to the bride: ”The scripture, which you call holy, says that no good deed will go unrewarded. This is the scripture that is known for you as the Bible but which, for us, is as bright as the sun, incomparably more splendid than gold, bearing fruit like the seed that produces fruit a hundredfold. Just as gold excels other metals, so the scripture, which you say is Holy though we call it Golden, excels all other books, because in it the true God is glorified and announced, the deeds of the patriarchs are unfolded, the inspirations of the prophets are explained.

Since, therefore, no good deed goes unrewarded, hear what I say: This king is a robber in God's sight and a traitor of souls and a prodigal squanderer of riches. As no traitor is worse than the one that betrays someone who loves him, so this king has in a spiritual sense betrayed many people by, in a bodily sense, approving the unjust, unjustly exalting the impious, oppressing the just, ignoring transgressions that should be corrected. Again, no thief is worse than he who betrays someone who lays his head upon his bosom. Likewise, the people of this land were, so to speak, in his bosom, but this king has wretchedly plundered them by allowing the property of some to be taken away, by imposing unbearable burdens on others, by ignoring the abuses of still others, by always exercising justice in a remiss way. In the third place, no thief is worse than one who steals from his unwilling master who has entrusted everything to him and given him his keys. Thus this king was given the keys of power and glory, which he has used in an unjust and wasteful manner, not for the glory of God. However, seeing that he has given up some of the things he likes out of love for me, I have three counsels for him.

The first is that he should be like the man in the gospel who left the pods of the swine and returned to his father. Let this king likewise scorn riches and honors, which are nothing but swine pods compared to eternal goods, and let him return to his Father God with humility and devotion. Second, let him leave the dead to bury the dead, and let him follow the narrow path of the crucified God. Third, let him leave behind the heavy weight of his sins and enter on the path that is narrow at the start but joyful in the end.

And you who see me, know that I am he who fully understood the golden scripture and in my understanding added to it. I was ignominiously stripped bare, but, because I bore it patiently, God has clothed my soul in immortal dress. I was also doused in oil, which is why I now enjoy the oil of everlasting happiness. Because I was made the guardian of the Mother of God, I left the world in the easiest of deaths after her own, and my body is now in a place of the greatest rest and security.”

The bride's amazing and remarkable vision and God's explanation of it. According to the explanation, the baptized are symbolized by an animal, the heathen by a fish, and God's friends by three crowds of people.

Book 4 - Chapter 2

Then there appeared to the bride a balance, as it were, with two scale-pans hanging above the ground. Their tops and chains went up to the clouds, and their rings went into the sky. In the first scale-pan was a fish. Its scales were razor-sharp, its look like that of a basilisk, its mouth like that of a unicorn spouting venom, its ears like the sharpest spears, like sheets of steel. In the other scale-pan was an animal with a hide like flint. Its huge mouth spouted hot flames. Its eyelids were like the hardest swords. Its hard ears let fly sharp arrows as from a hard, taut bow.

Then there appeared three crowds of people on the earth. The first was small; the second was smaller; the third was the smallest. A voice called to them from heaven saying: ”O, friends, I have a violent thirst for the heart of this amazing animal, if only someone would present it to me out of love! I have also a most fervent desire for the blood of the fish, if only someone could be found to bring me it!”

The crowd answered with a single voice as though from the mouth of all: ”O our Maker, how shall we present you with the heart of such a great animal, whose hide is harder than flint? If we try to draw near to its mouth, we get burned by the flames of its fire. If we look at its eyes, we get stabbed by the sparks of its arrows. And even if there were any hope of getting the animal, who will be able to catch the fish? Its scales are sharper than the edge of a sword, its eyes blind us, its mouth pours forth its incurable venom into us!”

The voice from heaven answered saying: ”O, friends, the animal and the fish seem invincible to you, but it is easy for the Almighty. From heaven I shall supply wisdom and grant strength to anyone looking for a way to fight the animal. I shall give myself in reward to anyone who is prepared to die for me.”

The first crowd answered: ”O great Father, you are the giver of every good thing. We are your work and shall gladly give you our heart in your honor. All the rest that remains outside our heart we will keep for the sustenance and refreshment of our body. Therefore, since death seems hard to us and our bodily weakness burdensome and our knowledge slight, govern us inwardly and outwardly and receive graciously what we offer you. Reward us with as much and whatever you like.”

The second crowd answered: ”We acknowledge our weaknesses and are aware of the world's emptiness and fickleness. Therefore, we shall gladly give you our heart and surrender all our will into the hands of others, for we would rather submit to others than own even the least of worldly goods.”

The third crowd answered: ”Lord, you desire the heart of the animal and thirst for the blood of the fish: We shall gladly give you our heart and we are prepared to die for you. Grant us wisdom, and we shall look for a way to get at the heart of the animal.”

After this came the sound of a voice from heaven saying: ”O, friend, if you want the heart of the animal, make a hole in the middle of your hands with a sharp bore. Then take the eyelids of a whale and attach them to your own eyelids with strong pitch. Take a plate of steel and tie it to your heart, so that the length and breadth of the steel covers your heart. Then close your nostrils and hold your breath in your throat!

Go boldly forth against the raging animal with your mouth shut and holding your breath. When you get up to the animal, use both your hands to lay hold of its ears. Its arrows will not hurt you but will go through the open holes in your hands. Run up to the animal with your mouth shut and, as you approach it, blow on it with all your breath. When you do so, the flames of the animal will not hurt you but will return on the animal itself and burn it. Take especial care with the sword-edges coming out of the animal's eyes. Latch on to them with your own eyes protected by the whale's eyelids. As a result of their powerful connection, either the animal's swords will be deflected or they will go through its heart. Look carefully for the animal's heartbeat and fix the edge of your mighty steel there and pierce the flint of its hide. If the flint breaks, you can be sure that the animal will die and its heart will be mine. For every pound it weighs, I will give a hundred to the laborer. However if it does not break and the animal injures him, I will care for his wounds and revive him if he dies.

If anyone wants to present me with the fish, let him walk to the shore with a net in his hands - one that is made not out of cords but from very precious metal. Let him enter the water but not more than up to the knees, so that the waves do not harm him. He should set his foot on a solid place where there is sand and no mud. He should put out one of his eyes and hold it toward the fish. Then the sight of the fish, which is like that of a basilisk, will have no effect on him. He should bear a shield of steel on his arm, and then the sting of the snake will not hurt him. Let him then cast his net over the fish with skill and might so that the fish will not be able to cut through it with its razors or break it or escape by any kind of powerful thrust.

When he feels he has the fish, let him hoist his net over above him, and if he holds it for ten hours above the waters, the fish will die. He should carry it then to the shore and inspect it with the eye that he did not put out, using his hands to open it along the backbone where the blood is more plentiful. May he thus present it to his Lord. If the fish should escape or swim to the other shore and harm him with its venom, I will be able to cure the infection. Nor will there be less reward for the blood of the fish than for the heart of the animal.”

God speaks again: ”The meaning of the scales of the balance is as if one were to say: 'Be lenient and patient, wait and have mercy.' It is to see another's wrongdoing and admonish him continually to make him desist from evil. Likewise, I, the God and Creator of all, sometimes sink down like a scale toward people and admonish them, being lenient and testing them with tribulations. Sometimes I rise up in people's minds through my enlightenment, inflaming them and visiting them with special grace. The meaning of the chains of the balance that go up to the clouds is that I, the God of all, uphold everyone, heathen as well as Christian, friends as well as enemies, and enlighten and visit them with my grace, in order to see if there are any who wish to respond to my grace by turning their will and affections away from evil. The animal signifies those who have received holy baptism but, having reached the age of discretion and not imitating the words of the holy gospel, have let their heart and mouth slip away toward earthly things and do not bother about the spiritual life.
The fish signifies heathens adrift on the waves of concupiscence. Their blood, that is, their faith, is slight and their knowledge of God little.

Thus, I desire both the animal's heart and the fish's blood, should there be any persons found who would attempt to present me with them for the sake of love. The three crowds are my friends: The first are those who make a reasonable use of the world; the second are those who give up what they have in humble obedience; the third are those who are prepared to die for God.”

A wonderful conversation between God and the bride by way of question and answer. It concerns the king and his hereditary rights and those of his successors in the kingdom, and also how some territories should be reclaimed by the successors in the kingdom and some not.

Book 4 - Chapter 3

“O Lord,” said the bride, ”do not get angry at me for asking, but I heard it read out loud that nothing should be unjustly acquired nor should anything unjustly acquired be retained. Now the present king has territory that some people say he holds by right while others deny it. And indeed it is strange that you tolerate in this man what you reproach in others.”

God answered: ”No people were left after the flood except for those who stayed on the ark during it. From these was born a race that went to the east, and among them some who went to Sweden. Another clan went west and from these arose the people who went to Denmark. Now those who first began to cultivate the land that was not surrounded by water did not occupy any territory belonging to the people who lived across the waters or on islands. Rather, they were each content with what they found, as is written of Lot and Abraham. Abraham said, 'If you go to the right, I will keep to the left,' as if to say 'Whatever you appropriate to yourself, this will belong to you and your heirs.' As time went on there came judges and kings who were satisfied with their boundaries and did not occupy the territory of the people who lived on islands or across the water. Rather, each remained within the boundaries and limits of their forefathers.”

She answered: ”What if a part of the kingdom is transferred by way of donation, should not a successor reclaim it?” God: ”In a certain kingdom, crown goods belonging to the king were kept in safe storage for him. The people, thinking themselves unable to survive without a king, elected one and entrusted to him the crown goods to be guarded and reconsigned to the future king. If the elected king should want to transfer or reduce a part of the crown goods, surely the future king could and should reclaim it, inasmuch as no reduction of the crown goods should take place. The king can neither diminish nor transfer the crown of the kingdom in his day, unless, perhaps, for some prudent reason. What do the crown goods of the kingdom denote if not his royal authority? What is the kingdom if not the people subject to him? What is the king if not mediator and savior of the kingdom and of the people? Accordingly, the savior and defender of the crown should by no means divide or reduce the crown goods to the detriment of a future king.”

The bride answered: ”What if the king is forced by necessity or violence to transfer a part of the crown goods?” God said: ”If two men had a quarrel, and the stronger of them would not make any concession unless a finger of the other man were cut of, to whom would the cut-off finger belong if not to him who had suffered the damage? This is also the case concerning the kingdom. If, due to necessity or captivity, a king should lose part of the kingdom, the future king can certainly reclaim it, for the king is not master of the realm but the helmsman, and necessity does not make a law.”

She answered: ”What if, during his lifetime, a king were to cede part of the crown goods to a lord, and, upon the king's death, that lord and his successors were to retain the concession as though they owned it, should it not be reclaimed?” The Lord: ”That territory should certainly return to its legitimate owner.”

She replied: ”What if a part of the crown goods were mortgaged to someone for debt and then, both after his death and after he had received income from it for many years, it should come into the hands of another person with no right to the land, since it had been neither ceded nor mortgaged to him but had accrued to him by chance, and if he does not want to give it up without being paid, what should be done?” The Lord said: ”If someone held a lump of gold in his hand and said to a bystander: 'This lump is yours, if you like, for so and so many pounds,' then that many pounds should surely be given to him. If land has been lawfully acquired and is held in peaceful ownership, it should be reclaimed with prudence and brought back after calculating the damages. When a king is elected, he is lifted up on a stone seat to be seen by the people. This indicates that he has dominion and possession of the northern parts of the kingdom, and also that the southern parts belong to the kingdom both by hereditary right and by sale and purchase. The king shall accordingly safeguard the land that has been acquired in order not to lose his dominion and or suffer subjugation should he act otherwise.”

Again she answered: ”O Lord, do not get angry if I ask just one thing more. The present king has two sons and two kingdoms. In one of the kingdoms the king is elected by hereditary right, in the other by popular vote. Now, however, the opposite has been done, inasmuch as the younger son has received the hereditary kingdom, while the older son holds the elective kingdom.” God answered: ”There were three incongruities in the electors as well as a fourth that they had in plenty: inordinate love, feigned prudence, the flattery of fools, and lack of confidence in God and in the common people.

Hence, their election was against justice, against God, against the good of the nation and against the welfare of the people. Therefore, in order to provide for peace and for the welfare of the people, it is necessary for the older son to receive the hereditary kingdom and for the younger son to come to the elective one. Otherwise, if the earlier actions are not repealed, the kingdom will suffer loss, the people will be afflicted, discord will arise, the sons shall pass their days in sorrow, and their kingdoms will no longer be kingdoms.
Instead it will be as is written: 'The mighty will move from their seats and those that walk upon the earth shall be exalted.'

Hear now: I will give you the example of two kingdoms. In one there is election, in the other hereditary succession. The first kingdom, where there is election, has been ruined and afflicted, because the rightful heir was not elected. This was due to the electors as well as to the greed of the one who sought the kingdom. Now, God does not punish the son for his father's sins nor does his anger endure forever, but he works and maintains justice both on earth and in heaven. For this reason that kingdom will not return to its previous glory and happy state until the rightful heir appears on either the father's or the mother's side.”

God's words to the bride about two spirits, good and bad; and about the remarkable and useful struggle in the mind of a certain lady arising from the inspirations of the good spirit and from the temptations of the evil spirit; and about what choice should be made in these matters.

Book 4 - Chapter 4

God speaks to the bride: ”Thoughts and influences are suggested and infused in human hearts by two spirits, that is to say, from the good spirit and from the bad. The good spirit urges people to think on the future goods of heaven and not to love temporal goods. The bad spirit urges them to love what they see, makes light of sin, offers the excuse of weakness, and adduces the example of weak sinners. Let me exemplify how each spirit inflames the heart of that lady known to you. The good spirit tells her the following, suggesting it to her thoughts: 'Riches are a burden, worldly honor is but air, carnal delights but a dream, fleeting joy and all worldly things are emptiness, the future judgment is inevitable and the inquisitor very harsh. It is too hard, then, it seems to me, to have to give a strict account of fleeting wealth, to win spiritual disgrace for the sake of air, to endure long-lasting hardship for momentary delight, and to render a reckoning to him to whom all things are known before they happen. For this reason, it is safer to give up much in order to make the account smaller rather than to get attached to much and then have to account for much.'

To counter this, the bad spirit replies with these inspirations: 'Dismiss such thoughts, since God is mild and easily placated. Own things boldly, give liberally of your possessions. You were born to have wealth. It has been granted to you so that you may win praise and can give to those who ask of you. If you give up your wealth, you will become a servant to your servants. You will lose honor and gain scorn, for a poor person finds no comfort. It will be hard for you to adjust to new habits, to tame the flesh in strange ways, and to live without being waited upon. So stay where you are with the honor you have received, and maintain your regal position. Manage your household in praiseworthy fashion so that you will not be accused of inconstancy should you change your state. Continue as you began, and you will be glorious before God and men.”

The good spirit again speaks to the woman's mind and advises her:
'I know two things to be eternal - heaven and hell. No one who loves God above all things will enter into hell. Those who do not love God will not gain heaven. The incarnate God himself trod the path to heaven and confirmed it with signs and by his death. How glorious it is to be in heaven, how bitter is the malice of the devil, and how empty are the things of the earth! His Mother and all the saints imitated God: they preferred to endure every punishment and lose everything - they even despised their very selves - so as not to lose heavenly and eternal possessions. Consequently, it is safer to surrender honor and wealth in due season than to hold on to them until the end. Otherwise, the memory of sins might perhaps fade away as the pain of old age increases, and those who care nothing about my salvation will carry off what I have gathered.'

The evil influence answered to the contrary: 'Leave off thinking on these things. We are weak human beings, but Christ was both God and man. We ought not compare our deeds to those of the saints who had more grace and intimacy with God. Let it be enough for us to hope for heaven and to live as befits our weakness, redeeming our sins through almsgiving and prayers. It is foolish and childish to take up unaccustomed practices and not be able to carry them through to the end.'

The good influence answered: 'I am unworthy to be compared with saints. Nevertheless, it is quite safe to aim at perfection by degrees. What is to hinder me taking up unaccustomed practices? God is able to help me. It often happens that some poor man follows in the path of a mighty and wealthy nobleman. Although the nobleman reaches the inn sooner and enjoys a delicious meal and rests on a soft bed, yet the poor man reaches the same inn, though later, and there he partakes of the leftovers from the nobleman's meal. If he had not followed in the nobleman's path and sought the same inn, he would not have enjoyed his nobleman's meal.

In the same way I say now that, although I am unworthy to be compared with saints, I do wish to follow along their path, so that at least I might be able to partake of their merits. I am concerned about two things in my soul.
The first is that, if I stay in my homeland, pride might get the better of me. The love of my parents, who request my help, makes me downcast in my mind; the abundance of servants and clothing is a burden to me. The thought of coming down from my proud throne and humbling my body by going on a pilgrimage is more attractive and consoling to me than remaining in a state of honor and accumulating sin upon sin. Second, I am concerned about the poverty of the people and their cries of discontent. Instead of helping them, my presence is a daily burden. That is why I need good advice.'

The bad influence answered: 'Going on pilgrimage is characteristic of an inconstant mind. Mercy is more acceptable than sacrifice. If you leave your homeland, greedy men, having heard of your reputation, will despoil you and carry you off. Then, instead of freedom, you will experience captivity; instead of wealth, poverty; instead of honor, shame; instead of quiet, tribulation.' The good spirit answered with an inspiration: 'I have heard of a certain captive in a tower who found greater comfort in captivity and darkness than he had ever before while living in abundance and temporal comfort. If it should please God to afflict me, it will be in order to increase my merit. After all, he is gentle in encouragement and quick to send help, especially as I am leaving my homeland because of my sins and in order to gain the love of God.'

The bad influence answered in turn: 'What will happen if you should be unworthy of divine consolation and impatient about poverty and humility? Then you will regret having taken such rigorous discipline upon yourself. Then you will have a staff in your hand instead of a ring, a cloth on your head instead of a crown, and lowly sackcloth instead of a crimson gown.' The good spirit answered in turn: 'I have heard that Holy Elizabeth, daughter of the king of Hungary, having been raised in luxury and nobly married, endured great poverty and abasement. She obtained from God greater comfort in poverty and a more sublime crown than if she had remained in all worldly honor and comfort.'

The bad inspiration answered: 'What will you do if God delivers you into the hands of men and your body is violated? How will your sense of modesty allow you to endure? Will you not sorrow over your own stubbornness and be inconsolable then? Will it not scandalize your whole family and cause them to mourn? Feelings of impatience, anxiety, and thanklessness toward God will surely surge up in your heart. You will want to end your days! And how will you dare to show yourself when you have been defamed in everyone's mouth?' In turn the good thought answered: 'I have heard it read that the holy virgin Lucy, when she was led off to a brothel, remained steadfast in faith and trusted in the goodness of God, saying: 'However much my body may suffer, I am still a virgin and shall receive a twofold crown.' Seeing her faith, God preserved her unharmed. Thus I say: God, who permits no one to be tempted beyond their power, shall protect my spirit, faith, and my will. I entrust myself wholly to him. May his will toward me be done!'

Accordingly, since this lady is shaken by such thoughts, I offer her three counsels. First, that she should recall the honor for which she has been chosen; second, what love God has shown her in her marriage; third, how benevolently she has been spared in this mortal life. I also give her three warnings. First, that she will render an account to God for all her temporal goods down to how the least obol was earned and spent; second, that her time is very short and she will die before she knows it; third, that God does not show the lady of the house more leniency than the maidservant.

Therefore, I advise her to do three things. First, to repent of her sins, to make amendment after a fruitful confession, and to love God with her whole heart. Second, I advise her wisely to seek to avoid the pains of purgatory. Just as a person who does not wholeheartedly love God deserves a great punishment, so too someone who does not atone for his or her sins while it is possible deserves purgatory. Third, I advise her for a time to leave her bodily friends for God's sake and to come to a place where there is a shortcut between heaven and death in order to avoid the pains of purgatory, because indulgences are obtained there that offer souls advancement and redemption, which have been granted by the holy pontiffs and earned by the blood of God's saints.”

The words of St. Peter to the bride about how he desired the salvation of peoples; and his advice to her about obtaining remembrance, and about the great miracles that are yet to be fulfilled in the city of Rome.

Book 4 - Chapter 5

St. Peter speaks to the bride of Christ: ”My daughter, you compared me to a plow, which makes wide furrows and clears away roots. This was indeed true. I was so zealous against sin and so aflame for virtue that I was ready to spare neither life itself nor any effort in order to convert the whole world to God. God was so sweet for me in thought, so sweet in conversation, so sweet in action that all things became bitter for me to think about apart from God. Yet God, too, was bitter to me, not because of him, but because of me. How bitterly I wept as often as I thought about how I had offended and denied him, for I had learned by then what it meant to love perfectly, and my tears became as sweet to me as sweet-tasting food.

As to your request for a spirit of remembrance, I answer you: Have you not heard how forgetful I was? I may have been fully taught as to the way of God and had sworn an oath to stand and die with God, but I denied the truth when I was questioned by a woman. And why? Because God had left me to myself, and because I did not know myself. But then what did I do? Then I really did consider what I was - nothing in myself. Then I got up and ran toward the truth, toward God, and he impressed such a remembrance of his name on my heart that I could never forget him again either in the face of tyrants or of torture or of death.

So do the same thing yourself: Turn in humility to the teacher of remembrance and ask remembrance of him. He is the only one who can do all things. Yet I will help you so that you may be made a participant of the seed that I planted on earth.

Moreover, I will tell you: Rome was once a city of fighters, and her streets were paved in gold and silver. Now, however, her gemstones have turned into mud, her inhabitants are but few; their right eye has been plucked out, and their right hand cut off; toads and vipers dwell with them, and for fear of their venom tame animals dare not appear, nor do my fish lift their heads. Yet fish shall gather in her, though not as many as before; still they will be as sweet and as daring - so much so that, through their cooperation, the toads and frogs will climb down, the snakes will be changed into lambs, and lions will be like doves at their windows.”

Again he added: ”I tell you further that you will live to hear the words: 'Long live the vicar of Peter!' And you will see him with your own eyes, for I will cause the mountain of delights to fall and those sitting on it will come down from it. Those who refuse to come down willingly will be forced down against everyone's expectations, for God wants to be exalted with mercy and truth.”

St. Paul tells the bride the noble story about how he was called by God through the prayers of Blessed Stephen, and about how the wolf became a lamb, and about how it is good to pray for everyone.

Book 4 - Chapter 6

St. Paul speaks to the bride of Christ, saying: ”My daughter, you compared me to a lion that was raised among wolves but was rescued from them in a wonderful way. I was indeed a greedy wolf, my daughter, but God made a lamb out of the wolf for two reasons. The first was because of his great love, for he makes the vessels of his grace out of unworthy materials, and he makes friends out of sinners. The second was because of the prayers of St. Stephen, the first martyr.

Let me describe how I was and what I had in mind at Stephen's stoning and why I deserved his prayers. I neither rejoiced nor delighted in St. Stephen's sufferings, nor did I envy his glory. Still I wanted him to die because, to my mind, I did not see him as having the true faith. When I saw his immense zeal and his patient endurance of suffering, I grieved terribly over his lack of faith - when in fact he was the truly faithful one and I altogether blind and faithless. Out of compassion for him I prayed and begged with my whole heart that his bitter sufferings might bring him to glory and reward.

Because of this, his prayers benefited me first of all, for, through them, I was rescued from the many wolves and made into a gentle lamb. This is why it is good to pray for everyone, because the prayer of the righteous benefits those who are closer and better prepared to receive grace. However, I now complain that this man who spoke so eloquently among the learned and was so patient before those who stoned him has been wholly forgotten in the hearts of many people and especially neglected by those who ought to serve him night and day. They bring him their broken and empty vessels, dirty and disgusting. Therefore, as it is written, they shall be clothed 'in double confusion and shame' and shall be thrown out of the houses of pleasure.”

A wonderful and remarkable vision about a soul who is to be judged and about the devil's accusations and the glorious Virgin's intervention. The explanation of this vision denotes heaven by a palace, Christ by the sun, the Virgin by a woman, the devil by an Ethiopian, the angel by a knight. It mentions two irremediable places of punishment and a third, a remediable one, as well as many other wonderful things, suffrages in particular.

Book 4 - Chapter 7

A person who was keeping vigil in prayer and was not asleep had a spiritual vision. It was as though she saw an unfathomably vast palace where there were countless figures dressed in white and shining clothes, each of whom seemed to have his or her own seat. In the principal part of the palace there was a judgment seat on which the sun seemed to sit. The rays that came from the sun were unfathomably long, deep, and wide. Next to this seat stood a maiden with a precious crown on her head, and all the servants of the sun that sat on the seat praised him with hymns and songs.

There appeared then an Ethiopian, terrible in aspect and bearing, as though full of envy and burning with great anger. He cried out and said: ”O, just judge, render judgment on this soul for me and hear his works! Little remains of his life. Allow me to punish the body along with the soul until their separation from each other.” After he had said this, it seemed to me that there stood near the seat one like a knight in arms, pure and wise in his words and modest in his bearing. He said: ”O, judge, see, here are the good works that he has done up to this hour.”

The voice of the sun seated on the seat was immediately heard: ”There is more vice than virtue here, and it is not just that vice should be joined to the summit of virtue.” The Ethiopian answered: ”Then it is just for this soul to be joined to me, for while he has some vice in himself, there is total wickedness in me.” The knight answered: ”God's mercy accompanies every person until death, until the very last moment, and then comes the judgment. Soul and body are still joined together in the man of whom we speak and he still has the power of discernment.

The Ethiopian answered: ”Scripture, which cannot lie, says: 'You shall love God above all things and your neighbor as yourself.' Look how this man did all his works from fear and not from love, as he ought. You will find that all the sins he confessed were confessed with little contrition. So he deserves hell, because he failed to deserve the kingdom of heaven. Thus his sins are made known here in the presence of divine justice, because he has never until now felt any contrition due to divine love for the sins he has committed.” The knight answered: ”He surely hoped to have true contrition and believed he would have it before death.”

The Ethiopian replied: ”You have collected every good deed he has ever done, and you know all his words and thoughts for the salvation of his soul. The whole lot of them cannot be compared to the grace of contrition arising from divine love along with holy faith and hope, and they can hardly obliterate his sins. God's eternal justice ordains that no sinner may enter heaven without perfect contrition. It is therefore impossible that God should render a judgment against his eternally foreknown ordinance. This soul is therefore to be sentenced to hell and joined to me for eternal punishment.” On these words the knight fell silent and gave no answer.

Then countless demons appeared, flying off like sparks from a hot fire and crying out with one voice. To him who sat like the sun on the judgment seat they said: ”We know that you are one God in three Persons without beginning or end. There is no other god than you. You are love itself along with mercy and justice. You existed in yourself from the beginning without loss or change, as is proper to God. Outside of you is nothing, and nothing outside of you has any joy. Your love created the angels from no other matter than from your divine power. You acted as mercy dictated. However, when we became inflamed with inner pride, envy, and greed, your justice-loving charity cast us together with our burning malice out of heaven into the unfathomable and shadowy abyss that is now called hell. This is what your charity did then. Your charity even now cannot be separated from justice in your judgments, whether it is fulfilled according to mercy or according to equity. We will go even further: If the one whom you love more than anyone, I mean, if the sinless Virgin who begot you had sinned mortally and had died without godly contrition, your love for justice is such that her soul would never have reached heaven but would have been with us in hell. So, Judge, why do you not sentence this soul to us, so that we may punish him according to his works?”

After this a trumpet-like sound was heard at which those who heard it fell silent, and immediately a voice spoke and said: ”Be silent, all of you angels and souls and demons, and hear what God's Mother has to say!” Then the Virgin herself appeared before the judgment seat, and it looked as though she were hiding some large objects beneath her mantle. She said: ”You, enemies! You attack mercy, and you love justice but without charity. Though these good works of this soul may be deficient and, for that reason, he should not enter heaven, yet look what I have beneath my mantle!” Then the Virgin opened the folds of her mantle on either side. On the one side could be seen a little church, as it were, with monks in it. On the other side appeared men and women, God's friends, both religious and others, all of them crying out with one voice and saying: ”Have mercy, merciful Lord!”

There was silence then, and the Virgin spoke, saying: ”Scripture says: A person with perfect faith can move the world's mountains by means of it. What about the voices of those who both have faith and have served God with burning love? What can and should these be able to accomplish? What will those friends of God do whom this man, seeking only the reward of heaven for his good works, has asked to pray for him in order that he might be saved from hell and reach heaven? Are not all their tears and prayers able to snatch him and raise him up so that he can obtain God's love and contrition before his death? Besides, I will also join my own pleas to the prayers of all those saints in heaven whom he especially honored.”

Then she added: ”O demons, by the power of the judge I order you to attend to what you in justice now see.” Then all of them answered as with one voice: ”We see that in the world a little water and a lot of air placate the wrath of God. So, too, by your prayer God is placated and inclined toward mercy and charity.” Then the sun's voice was heard to say: ”Thanks to the prayers of my friends, this man will yet receive enough godly contrition before death so as not to go to hell, but he will be purged among those who have the heaviest punishment in purgatory. Once his soul has been purged, he will receive a reward in heaven in the company of those who had faith and hope but only small charity on earth.” Once this had been said, the demons fled.

Then it seemed as though a terrible and dark place was opened up before the bride. In it there appeared a burning furnace. The fire burned on no other fuel than demons and living souls. Above the furnace appeared the soul whose sentence was mentioned earlier. Its feet were affixed to the furnace, and it stood upright like a man. The soul stood neither on the uppermost part of the furnace nor the lowest but, as it were, on one side of it. The shape of the furnace was terrible and awesome. Its fire seemed to push upward through the bottom of the soul's feet, as when water pushes itself upward through pipes, and it went up over his head with such violent pressure that the soul's pores were like veins coursing with hot fire. His ears looked like a blacksmith's bellows that continuously fanned the whole brain with their flapping. His eyes looked like they were inside out, sunken all the way in and attached to the back of his head. His mouth was open, and his tongue was pulled out through his nostrils and was hanging down to his lips. His teeth were like iron nails attached to his gums. His arms were so long that they reached down to the feet. Both hands seemed to be holding and squeezing a greasy, tar-like thing that was on fire. The skin that covered the soul looked like an animal hide just hanging over his body, and he was dressed in a cloth that was like a sheet drenched with sperm. This cloth was so icy cold that anyone who saw it shivered. Pus oozed out of it as from a wound with putrid blood. A stench came from it that was so bad that it could not be compared to the worst stench in the world.

After the sight of this torment, the soul's voice was heard to cry out woe five times, weeping with all his might. He said: ”Woe is me, first of all, because I loved God so little in return for his great virtues and for the grace given me. Woe is me, second, because I did not fear God's justice as I should have. Woe is me, third, because I loved the pleasure of my sinful body and flesh. Woe is me, fourth, for all my worldly riches and pride. Woe is me, fifth, that I ever laid eyes on you, Louis and Johanna!”

Then an angel said to me: ”Let me explain this vision for you. The palace you saw is an image of heaven. The great crowd of those who were seated and dressed in white and shining clothes are the angels and the souls of the saints. The sun signifies Christ in his divine nature; the woman stands for the Virgin who gave birth to God; the Ethiopian accusing the soul is the devil; the knight reporting the good works of the soul is an angel. The furnace denotes hell. Hell is so hot inside that if the whole world and everything in it were on fire, it could not compare to that vast furnace. The various voices heard in the furnace all speak against God. They begin and end their speech with laments. The souls look like people whose limbs are forever being stretched without relief or pause.

Know, too, that the fire that you saw in the furnace burns in eternal darkness, and the souls burning in it do not all have the same punishment. The darkness that appeared around the furnace is called limbo. It comes from the darkness that is in the furnace. Yet both make up one place and one hell. Anyone entering it will never dwell with God.

Above the darkness is found the greatest punishment of purgatory sustainable by souls. Beyond this lies another place of lesser punishment, where there is only a weakened condition as to fortitude, beauty, and the like. It is like when people have been sick, and once the sickness and pain are gone, they have nothing left of their strength until they gradually recover it.

Beyond that is a third place where there is only the punishment of the longing for God. To help your mind understand it better, I will offer you a comparison. It is as when copper is mixed with gold, and the two are melted together in a very hot fire so long as necessary to purge it until the copper is consumed and only pure gold is left. The stronger and thicker the copper is, the hotter the fire must be, until the gold flows like water and is all on fire. The master then takes the gold to another place where it obtains its true form to be seen and touched. Afterward he puts it in a third place where it is stored to be presented to the owner.

This is also the case in spiritual matters. The greatest punishment of purgatory is in the first level above the darkness where you saw the aforesaid soul being purged. The demons can touch it there; poisonous vermin and wild beasts are symbolically present there. There is heat and cold, darkness and confusion, all coming from the punishment of hell. Some souls are punished less there, some more, according as sins were atoned for or not while the soul remained in the body.

The master, that is, God's justice, then carries the gold, that is, the souls, to other places where they only suffer from a lack of strength. There they dwell as long as necessary until they attain relief either from their own special friends or from the continuous works of the Holy Church. The more help a soul gets from her friends, the quicker she convalesces and is released from that place. After this a soul is brought to the third place where there is no other punishment but the longing to enter God's presence and behold him in blessedness. Many souls dwell there for a very long time, except for those who had a perfect longing to enter God's presence and behold him while they still lived in the world.

Know, too, that many people die in the world who are so just and innocent that they enter right away into the presence and vision of God. There are also those who have made so much atonement for their sins with their good works that their souls shall know no punishment. However, there are few who do not come to the place of longing for God. Hence all the souls dwelling in these three places participate in the prayers of the Holy Church and in the good works done in the world, especially in those that they did in their lifetimes and in those that are done by their friends after their death.

Know also that, just as sins are of many different kinds and forms, so too the punishments are of many and different kinds. Hence, just as a hungry man rejoices over a morsel of food that reaches his mouth, a thirsty man over a drink, a sad man is gladdened by joy, a naked one by clothing, a sick one on coming into bed, so souls rejoice and participate in those goods that are done for them in the world.” The angel added: ”Blessed be the person in the world who helps souls with prayers and good deeds and physical labor. God's justice, which cannot lie, declares that souls must either be purged after death through the punishment of purgatory or released ahead of time through the good works of friends.”

After this many voices were heard from purgatory, saying: ”O, Lord Jesus Christ, just judge, send your love to those who have spiritual power in the world, and then we will be able to participate more than now in their chants, readings, and offerings.”

Above the space from which their cries were heard there seemed to appear a house in which many voices were heard, saying: ”May God reward those who send us help in our weakness!” It seemed that the rays of dawn appeared in this house, and beneath the rays a cloud appeared that had nothing of the light of dawn, and from it came a great voice saying: ”O Lord God, through your unfathomable power grant hundredfold wages to each of those in the world who with their good works raise us up to the light of your divinity and the vision of your face!”

The angel's words to the bride about the meaning of the punishment of a man's soul judged by God in the above chapter; and also about the lessening of the punishment because he had spared his enemies before death.

Book 4 - Chapter 8

The angel said: ”The soul whose predicament you saw and whose sentence you heard finds himself in the most severe punishment of purgatory.
This consists in his not knowing whether he will come to rest after purgation or whether he has been condemned. This is God's justice, because this man possessed great knowledge and discernment, but he used them in a material way for worldly ends and not in a spiritual way for the sake of his soul, for he forgot and neglected God altogether while he lived.

Now his soul suffers from the burning fire and shivers from the cold. He is blind in the darkness, fearful of the horrible sight of demons, deaf from the devil's howling, hungry and thirsty within himself, and clothed in shame on the outside. Yet God granted him one grace after death, namely, that of not coming into contact with the demons. This was because he had shown leniency to his chief enemies for the sole sake of God's honor. He pardoned their grave offences and made friendship with his chief enemy.

Know, too, that, in accordance with God's just decision, whatever good he did, whatever he pledged and donated of his legitimate wealth diminishes and relieves his pain, especially with the aid of the prayers of God's friends. Any other, less legitimately acquired possessions that he gave away benefit their previous, legitimate owners, either in a spiritual or bodily way, provided they are worthy of it according to God's dispensation.”

The angel's words to the bride about the judgment of God's justice against the above mentioned soul, and about the satisfaction to be made in this life for this soul while in purgatory.

Book 4 - Chapter 9

The angel speaks again: ”You heard before that, through God's love and thanks to the prayers of God's friends, this man received contrition for his sins a short while before death, and that this contrition saved him from hell. Accordingly, God's justice decided that he should burn for six ages in purgatory after death, unless he obtains help from God's friends in the world. These ages represent those that he lived from the first hour in which he knowingly committed a mortal sin until the time when he achieved fruitful repentance through God's love.

The first age means that he did not love God for the death of Christ's noble body and the many sufferings Christ endured for nothing other than the salvation of souls. The second age means that he did not love his own soul, as a Christian ought, and did not return thanks to God for his baptism and because he was not a Jew or a pagan. The third age means that he knew well enough what God commanded him to do but had little desire to carry it out. The fourth age means that he knew well enough what God had forbidden to those wanting to reach heaven but that he dared to go against it, following not the motions of his conscience but rather his passions and desires. The fifth age means that he did not make proper use of the means of grace and of confession, although he had plenty of time. The sixth age means that he cared little about the body of Christ and did not wish to receive it frequently, since he did not want to refrain from sin, nor did he possess enough divine charity to receive the body of Christ until the end of his life.”

Then a man of very modest appearance appeared. His clothes were white and shining like a priestly alb; he was girded with a linen belt and a red stole about his neck and under his arms. He commenced speaking in this way: ”You who see this, pay close attention and commit to memory what you see and hear. You and all who live in the world cannot understand God's power and what he established before time in the same way as we can who are with him. All those things that take place in an instant for God are incomprehensible to you except by means of words and images after a worldly fashion.
I am one of those whom this man, now condemned to purgatory, honored with his gifts in his life. For this reason God has graciously granted me that if anyone will do what I advise, then this man's soul will be transferred to a higher place where he will obtain his true form and know no pain other than such as a person would suffer after having had a great illness once all the pain has gone away, lying there like someone without any strength, yet full of joy in the certain knowledge that he would survive.

As you heard, the soul of this man cried out its woe five times. Therefore I have five consoling things to tell him. His first woe was that he had loved God little. In order to free him from this, let thirty chalices in which God's blood is offered up be donated for his soul so that God himself might be more honored. His second woe was that he had not had any fear of God. To release him from this, let thirty priests be chosen, who are deemed to be pious, each of whom should say thirty masses whenever he can: nine masses of martyrs, nine of confessors, nine of all saints; the twenty-eighth mass is to be that of angels, the twenty-ninth that of Holy Mary, the thirtieth that of the Blessed Trinity. They should all have the intention of praying for his soul, so that God's anger may be appeased and his justice turned toward mercy.

His third woe was because of his pride and greed. To release him from this, one must invite thirty paupers and humbly wash their feet and give them food, money, and clothing to comfort them. Both the person who washes and those who get washed shall humbly beseech God, for the sake of his humility and his bitter passion, to pardon this man's soul for the greed and pride of which he was guilty. His fourth woe was carnal lust. If, then, someone should help both a virgin and a widow to enter into the convent and should, moreover, provide for a girl to join in true wedlock, giving them all enough property to allow them to eat and dress sufficiently, then God will pardon the sins this man committed in the flesh, inasmuch as these are the three ways of life commanded and chosen by God to be states of life in the world.

His fifth woe was that he had committed many sins that caused harm to a great number of people. In particular, he had made every effort to ensure the marriage of the two persons mentioned earlier, who were as closely related by blood as if they both came from the same family. Moreover, he procured their union more for his own sake than for the sake of the realm. He did so without asking the pope's permission and against the praiseworthy ordinances of the Holy Church. Many a person has become a martyr because he would not tolerate such deeds being done against God and his Holy Church and against Christian morality.

If anyone wishes to make reparation for so great a sin, he should go to the pope and say: 'A certain man committed such and such a sin,' without naming the person explicitly, 'but in the end he repented and obtained absolution though without atoning for the sin. Therefore, impose on me whatever penance you want that I can endure, for I am ready to atone for that sin on his account.' Truly, even if no greater penance should be imposed on him than an 'Our Father,' it will suffice to lessen this soul's punishment in purgatory.”

Christ's complaint to the bride about the Romans, and about the cruel sentence Christ hands down against them, should they die in their sins.

Book 4 - Chapter 10

God's Son speaks these words, saying: ”O, Rome, you repay me badly for my many favors. I am God, who created all things, and I manifested my great love through the harsh death of my body, a death I willed to endure for the salvation of souls. Three are the paths on which I wished to come to you, and truly you wished to betray me on all of them. You hung a large rock overhead to crush me on the first path. You placed a sharp spear on the second path to block my way to you. You dug a moat in the third path for me to fall into unawares and drown. What I have said now should not be understood in a physical but a spiritual sense. I am speaking to the inhabitants of Rome who act in this way but not to my friends who reject their works.

The first path by which I am accustomed to enter the human heart is the fear of God. They have hung over it an enormous rock, that is, the great presumption of a hardened heart that does not fear the judge whom none can withstand. They say in their hearts: 'Should the fear of God come to me, the presumption of my heart shall crush it.' The second path by which I come is the inspiration of divine counsel, which often also comes through preaching and teaching. People block me from this path with a spear through their delight in sinning against my precepts and through their firm resolution to persevere in wickedness until they can no longer keep it up. This is the spear that blocks God's grace from coming to them. The third path is the Holy Spirit's enlightenment in each person's heart by which people can understand and ponder the nature and greatness of what I have done for them and what I suffered for them. They dig a deep moat for me by saying in their hearts: 'I love my pleasure more than his charity. I'm satisfied by just thinking about the enjoyments of the present life.' So they drown divine love and all my deeds, as it were, in a deep moat.

The inhabitants of Rome do all this to me, and certainly show it in their words and deeds. They count my words and deeds for nothing, cursing and insulting me and my Mother and my saints both in jest and in earnest, whether happy or angry, instead of giving me thanks. They do not live according to Christian customs, as the Holy Church commands, having no more love for me than the demons. The demons prefer to endure their wretchedness forever and hold on to their own wickedness rather than to see me and join me in perennial glory. These are the people who refuse to receive my body, which is consecrated from the altar bread, as I myself established, and whose reception is a great help against the devil's temptations. How wretched they are who scorn such help while they are still healthy and reject it like poison, because they do not wish to refrain from sin!

I shall now come by a way unknown to them through the power of my divinity, bringing vengeance on the scorners of my humanity. And just as they have prepared three obstacles on their paths to prevent my coming to them, so too I shall prepare three other obstacles for them, the bitterness of which they shall know and taste both dead and alive. My rock is a sudden and unforeseen death that shall crush them so that all their merriments will be left behind, and their souls will be forced to come alone to my judgment. My spear is my justice, and it shall separate them from me so that they will never taste of the one who redeemed them and will never behold the beauty of the one who created them. My moat is the shadowy darkness of hell into which they shall fall, living there in everlasting wretchedness. All my angels in heaven and all the saints shall condemn them, and all the demons and all the souls in hell shall curse them.

Yet I take note of them, and I am saying this about those people with the disposition described above, whether they are religious or secular clergy or laymen or women or their sons and daughters old enough to understand that God forbids every sin, but who nonetheless voluntarily get caught up in sins and shut out God's love and belittle the fear of him.
My will is still the same as it was when I hung upon the cross. I am the same now as I was then, when I forgave the thief his sins upon his asking for mercy and opened for him the gates of heaven. For the other thief, however, who despised me, I unlocked hell's barriers, and there he remains, forever tormented for his sins.”

St. Agnes's words of praise and blessing to the glorious Virgin herself, and about how she prays to the Virgin for the daughter, and about the answer of the Lord and of his sweet Virgin and their consoling words to the bride, and about this world as symbolized by a pot.

Book 4 - Chapter 11

Agnes speaks: ”O, mother Mary, virgin of virgins, you can rightly be called the dawn lit by the true sun, Jesus Christ. Do I call you dawn because of your royal lineage or wealth or honors? Certainly not. You are rightly called the dawn because of your humility, the light of your faith, and your singular vow of chastity. You are the herald introducing the true sun, you are the joy of the righteous, you are the expulsion of demons, you are the consolation of sinners. For the sake of that wedding that God celebrated in you at the time, I pray that your daughter shall remain in your Son's honor and love.”

God's Mother answers: ”What do you mean by this wedding? Tell me for the sake of her who is listening!” Agnes answers: ”You are truly mother and virgin and bride. The most beautiful wedding was celebrated in you at the time when a human nature was joined to God in you without any admixture or loss in his divinity. Virginity and motherhood were united while virginal modesty remained intact, and you became at the same time both mother and daughter of your Creator. This day you gave birth in time to him who was eternally begotten of the Father and has wrought all things with the Father.
The Holy Spirit, within and without you and all around you, made you fruitful as you gave your consent to God's herald. God's Son himself, who was born of you this day, was within you even before his herald came to you. Have mercy, then, on your daughter!

She is like a poor little woman dwelling in a valley with nothing other than some small living creature, such as a hen or a goose. She had so much affection for the lord living on the mountain of the valley that, out of love, she offered the lord of the mountain whatever living creature she had. The lord answers her: 'I have plenty of everything and have no need of your gifts. But are you perhaps giving a little something in order to receive something greater?' She says to him: 'I am not offering this because you need it but because you have permitted such a poor little woman as myself to live with you on your mountain and because your servants show me respect. Therefore, I give you the little comfort I have so that you know that I would do more, if I could, and that I am not ungrateful for your grace.' The lord answers: 'Since you love me with such charity, I will bring you up to my mountain and give you and yours clothing and food each and every year.' Such is the disposition of your daughter now. She surrendered to you the one living thing she had, that is, the love of the world and of her children. Hence, it is for you to provide for her in your kindness.”

In answer the Mother says to the bride of the Son: ”Stand firm, daughter. I shall ask my Son, and he will give you food each and every year and place you on the mountain where thousands upon thousands of angels are his servants. Indeed, if you counted all the persons born from Adam up to the last one who will be born at the end of the world, you shall find more than ten angels for each human being. The world, in fact, is no more than a cooking pot. The fire and ashes beneath the pot are the friends of the world, but God's friends are like the choice morsels of food inside the pot. When the table is ready, then the delicious food will be presented to the lord for him to enjoy. But the pot itself will be smashed, though the fire shall not be extinguished.”

The Virgin Mother's words to the daughter about the vicissitudes of God's friends in this world, who are at times spiritually distressed and at other times comforted, and about the meaning of spiritual distress and comfort, and about how God's friends must rejoice and be comforted in their time.

Book 4 - Chapter 12

The Mother speaks: ”In this world God's friends must sometimes find themselves spiritually distressed, at other times spiritually comforted. Spiritual consolation means the infusion of the Holy Spirit, contemplating God's great works, admiring his forbearance, and putting all this cheerfully into practice. Spiritual distress is when the mind is involuntarily disturbed by unclean and vexing thoughts, when it suffers anguish over dishonor shown to God and over the loss of souls, when one's heart is forced to occupy itself with worldly concerns for a good reason. God's friends can also at times be comforted with a temporal kind of comfort, such as edifying conversation, decent entertainment, or other activities in which there is nothing demeaning or indecent, as you will understand from the following comparison.

If a fist were always held tightly closed, then either the muscles would be strained or the hand would grow weak. It is similar in spiritual matters. If the soul always remained in contemplation, then she would either forget herself and perish through pride, or else her crown of glory would be lessened.
The reason why God's friends are at times comforted by the infusion of the Holy Spirit and are at other times, with God's permission, distressed is that their distress tears up the roots of sin and firmly plants the fruit of righteousness.

But God, who sees hearts and understands all things, moderates the temptations of his friends in such a way that the temptations lead to their progress, for he does everything and allows everything to happen with due weight and measure. Since you have been called in God's Spirit, do not worry about God's forbearance, for it is written that no one comes to God unless the Father draws him. A shepherd uses a bunch of flowers to draw his sheep and entice them into the barn, and carefully locks the barn. The sheep, then, cannot get out but run around in circles because the barn is secured by means of walls, a high roof, and locked gates. In this way they get so used to eating hay that they become tame enough to eat hay out of the hand of the shepherd. This very thing has been done with you. That which before seemed unbearable and difficult to you has now become so easy that now nothing delights you so much as God.”

Christ's words to the bride as to which tears are acceptable to God and which are not, and about what kind of alms should be requested or given to the poor for the sake of departed souls, and about Christ's advice and exhortation to the bride.

Book 4 - Chapter 13

The Son speaks: ”You wonder why I do not listen to that man whom you see shedding many tears and donating a great deal to the poor in my honor.
I answer you in the first place: Where water flows from two springs, it frequently happens when they meet that the cloudy and muddy water of one source pollutes and defiles the purer water of the other spring. And who can drink such muddied water?

It is similar with the tears of many people. Some people's tears arise at times due to the debasement of the inclinations of nature, at other times due to worldly distress and the fear of hell. Such people's tears are muddy and stinking, for they do not come from the love of God. Those tears are sweet to me that arise from considering God's kindnesses as well as one's own sins and from love for God. Tears such as these raise the soul up from earthly things to heaven and bring about her new birth for eternal life. There are two kinds of birth, physical and spiritual. Physical birth means a person is born from impurity to impurity. It bewails physical damage; it gladly puts up with worldly toils. The child of such a birth is not the child of such tears by which eternal life is gained. That other birth begets rather a child of tears and bewails the loss of souls and takes utmost care that its child should not offend God. Such a mother is closer to the child than the one who begets it physically, for blessed life is gained through a birth like this.

Second, in regard to his giving alms to the poor, I answer you: If you bought a cloak for your son with your servant's money, would not the cloak rightly belong to the one who owned the money? Of course it would. It is similar in spiritual matters. A man who oppresses his subjects or neighbors in order to help the souls of his loved ones with their money rather provokes me to wrath than placates me, because unjustly expropriated possessions benefit their previous legitimate owner and not those persons for whom they are given.

However, because this man has been kind to you, kindness will be done to him, both spiritually and physically - spiritually by the offering of prayers to God for his sake. You cannot believe how much the prayers of the humble please God. I will show you it through a comparison. If someone were to offer a great amount of silver to a king, any bystanders there would say: 'What a great present!' However if the same person were to pray one 'Our Father' for the king, they would laugh at him. It is the opposite with God. If anyone offers one 'Our Father' for another's soul, it is more acceptable to God than a great amount of gold, as could be seen in the case of good Gregory, who raised up even a pagan emperor to a higher station through his prayers.

Again, tell him this: 'Because you have shown me kindness, I pray to God, the rewarder of all, to repay you in his graciousness.' Tell him this as well: 'My dear friend, I give you one counsel and I make one request of you. I counsel you to open the eyes of your heart through the consideration of the instability and vanity of the world. Think about how the love of God has grown cold in your heart and about how heavy the penalty will be and how horrible the future judgment. Attract God's love to your heart by making use of all your time, temporal goods and works, affections, and thoughts for the glory of God, and entrust your sons to God's plan and dispensation without letting your love of God grow any less for their sake. Second, I ask you to pray earnestly to God, who can do all things, that he may grant you patience and fill your heart with his blessed love.”

Christ's comforting words to the bride in her fear, telling her not to be afraid of what she has seen and heard, because it comes from the Holy Spirit, and about the devil as symbolized by a snake and a lion, the consolation of the Holy Spirit as symbolized by a tongue, and about how to resist the devil.

Book 4 - Chapter 14

The Son says: ”Why are you afraid and anxious that the devil may insert things into the words of the Holy Spirit? Have you ever heard of anyone who kept his tongue safe and sound by placing it between the teeth of an angry lion? Has anyone ever sucked sweet honey from the tail of a snake? No, never. Now what does the lion or snake symbolize if not the devil - a lion in evil and a snake in cunning? What does the tongue symbolize if not the consolation of the Holy Spirit? What does it mean to place one's tongue between the teeth of a lion if not to utter the words of the Holy Spirit - who appeared in the shape of a tongue - in order to gain human favor and praise? Anyone who speaks God's praises for human gratification has surely been bitten and deceived by the devil, because those words, though they come from God, are not coming from a mouth that has the love of God, and so that person's tongue, that is, the consolation of the Holy Spirit, will be taken away from him or her. However, a person who desires nothing but God, and finds all worldly affairs bothersome, whose body does not seek to see or hear anything but what comes from God, whose soul rejoices in the infusion of the Holy Spirit, such a person cannot be deceived, for the evil spirit yields to the good spirit and does not dare to approach it.

What does sucking honey from a snake's tail mean if not waiting for the consolation of the Holy Spirit to come from the suggestions of the devil? That consolation will never come, because the devil would rather let himself be slain a thousand times over than offer any word of consolation to a soul the utterance of which might lead the soul to the meaning of life. Fear not, for God, who began a good work with you, will carry it through to a good end. But know that the devil is like an unleashed dog that comes running to you with his temptations and suggestions when he sees you lacking the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. However, if you should place a hard object in his way to hurt or paralyze his teeth, he will immediately leap away from you and will not harm you. The hard object placed in the devil's way signifies divine charity and obedience to God's commands. When the devil sees that these virtues are perfect in you, his teeth, that is, his attempts and his intention, will immediately be frustrated, because he sees that you would suffer anything rather than go against God's commands.”

Christ's words to the bride about why the good suffer in this life while the bad prosper, and how God shows her through a parable that he sometimes promises temporal goods but that these should be taken to mean spiritual goods, and about why God has not predicted every single event to happen at particular times, although all times and seasons are known to him.

Book 4 - Chapter 15

The Son of God says: ”You are wondering why you have heard that a certain friend of God, who should be honored, is suffering hardships, while, on the other hand, you have heard that a certain enemy of God, who you thought should be whipped, has been honored, as was told you in another divine vision. I answer: My words should be taken in both a spiritual and a bodily sense. What is the suffering of the world if not a kind of preparation and elevation to the crown of reward? And what does worldly prosperity mean for someone who abuses grace if not a kind of descent into perdition? To suffer in the world is truly an ascension to life. But, for the unrighteous, prospering in the world is truly a descent into hell. In order to build up your patience by means of God's word, I will tell you a parable.

Imagine a mother with two sons, one of whom was born in a dark prison, knowing and hearing nothing, only shadows and his mother's milk. The other was born in a small cottage and had human food, a bed to rest on, and the attendance of a maidservant.
The mother said to the one who was born in prison: 'My son, if you leave the darkness, you will have more delicious food, a softer bed, and a safer dwelling.' When the boy heard that, he left. If, however, his mother had promised him loftier things, such as galloping horses or ivory homes or a great household, he would not have believed it, for he had never known anything but shadows and his mother's milk. Similarly, God, too, sometimes makes a promise of lesser things but means something greater by them in order that people may learn to ponder the things of heaven by means of earthly ones.

But the mother said to the other son: 'My son, what use is it to you to live in this disgusting cottage? Take my advice, and it will be to your advantage. I know two cities: The inhabitants in the first experience endless and indescribable joy and everlasting honor. In the second city, fighters are in training, and everyone who fights is made a king, yet every loser wins.' On hearing that, the boy went out to the stadium, then returned and said to his mother: 'I saw a remarkable game in the stadium: Some people were being knocked down and trampled upon, others were being stripped and bruised, yet all of them kept quiet, all of them were playing, and no one raised his head or hand against those who knocked them down.'

His mother answers: 'The city you saw is only the outskirts of the city of glory. In these outskirts, the Lord wishes to test and see who is fit to enter into the city of glory. He gives a higher crown of glory to all those he has seen to be more vigilant in the contest. This is why there are people residing in the outskirts who make a test of the ones who are to be crowned in glory. You saw the people lying prostrate being stripped and insulted but keeping quiet. This was because our clothes have been defiled by the darkness in our cottage.

A great contest and struggle is necessary in order to wash them thoroughly.' The boy answers: 'It is a tough thing to be trampled down and keep quiet. In my opinion it is better to return to my cottage.' His mother says: 'If you remain in our cottage, vermin and snakes will come out of the shadows, and when you hear them your ears shall tremble, and their bite will freeze the very strength within you, and you will wish never to have been born rather than to live with them.' When the boy heard this, he felt desire for bodily goods, but his mother was thinking of it in a spiritual sense. Thus, he felt more encouraged each day and was spurred on to the crown of reward.

God acts in a similar way. Sometimes he promises and grants bodily or carnal goods, but really intends spiritual goods by them, so as both to spur the mind on in its fervor toward God by means of the gifts received and to keep it humble in its spiritual understanding so that it does not fall into presumption.
That is how God treated Israel. First he promised and gave them temporal goods, and also performed miracles for them, so that they might learn about invisible and spiritual goods by means of such things. Then, when their understanding had attained a better knowledge of God, he used obscure and difficult words to speak to them through the prophets, adding at times words of comfort and joy, as, for example, when he promised them a return to the fatherland, perpetual peace, and a restoration of all that was in ruins.
Though the people were carnal minded, and understood and desired all these promises in a carnal way, still God in his foreknowledge decided beforehand that some promises would be fulfilled in a physical sense, but others spiritually.

You might ask: Why did not God, to whom all hours and seasons are known, openly foretell that particular events would take place at specific times? And why did he say some things but with other things in mind? I answer you: Israel was carnal and only desired carnal things and could only apprehend the invisible by way of the visible. Therefore, God deigned to teach his people in many different ways, so that believers in God's promises would receive a loftier crown due to their faith, so that students of virtue would become more fervent, so that slackers would become more fervently enkindled toward God, so that wrongdoers would more freely cease their sinning, so that sufferers would bear their trials more patiently, so that those who toiled would persevere more cheerfully, so that the hopeful would receive a loftier crown due to the obscurity of the promise. If God had only promised spiritual goods to the carnal minded, they all would have grown lukewarm in their love for heaven. If he had only promised carnal goods, what difference would there then be between man and beast? Instead, in his kindness and wisdom, in order that they might govern their bodies with justice, with the moderation of those who are about to die, God gave humankind bodily goods. In order that they might desire the things of heaven, he displayed to them heavenly favors and wonders.

In order that they might fear sin, he displayed his terrible judgments and the possessions brought about by the bad angels. In order that they might expect and desire the one who would explain the promises and grant wisdom, obscure and doubtful words were mixed together with words of encouragement.

So too, even today, God reveals spiritual decisions in bodily terms. When he speaks of bodily glory, he means the spiritual kind. This is in order that all teaching authority might be attributed to God alone. What is worldly glory if not wind and toil and the loss of divine consolation? What is suffering if not a preparation in virtue? To promise worldly glory to a righteous soul, what does that mean if not the removal of spiritual comfort? But to promise sufferings in the world, what does that mean if not the medicine and antidote for a great illness? Therefore, my daughter, God's words can be understood in many ways, though this does not imply any mutability in God but simply that his wisdom is to be admired and feared. Just as I expressed many things in bodily terms through the prophets, which were also fulfilled in a bodily fashion, while I expressed other things in bodily terms that came about or were intended in a spiritual sense, so too I do the same thing now. When these things happen, I shall indicate their cause to you.”

The Virgin tells the daughter how the devil often cunningly leads one and another of God's servants beneath the veil of devotion in order to cause them distress, and to which people indulgences are granted, and she uses a goose to symbolize how the church is constituted and a hen to symbolize God, and she explains which people deserve to be called God's little chickens.

Book 4 - Chapter 16

God's Mother says to the bride of Christ: ”Why did you give hospitality to that man who has a boastful tongue, a strange way of life and worldly customs? She answers: ”Because he was thought to be a good man, and I did not want to get into trouble for disdaining a man with a reputation for talking. However, if I had known beforehand that it was displeasing to God, I would no more have received him than I would have a snake.” The Mother says to her: ”Your goodwill set a guard and a restraint on his tongue and heart, so that he did not cause you any worries. The devil in his cunning brought you a wolf in sheep's clothing in order to create an occasion of causing you distress and spreading talk about you.” She answers: ”He seems devout and penitent to us. He visits the saints and says he wants to keep away from sin.”

The Mother answers: ”If you have a feathered goose, tell me, do you eat the meat or the feathers? Is it not so that the feathers are revolting to the stomach, but the meat provides true food and refreshment? This can be applied spiritually to the arrangement and constitution of the Holy Church. She is like a goose in that she has within her the body of Christ, as it were, the freshest of meat. The sacraments are like the inner parts of the goose. Its wings symbolize the virtues and acts of the martyrs and confessors. Its down represents the charity and patience of the saints, and its feathers indulgences that holy men have granted and gained. People who receive indulgences with the intention of gaining absolution for their previous sins while remaining in their previous vicious habits only get the feathers of the goose. Their souls are neither fed nor refreshed. When they eat the feathers, they just throw up.

However, people who receive indulgences and are minded to flee from sin, to restore goods unjustly taken, to make satisfaction for wounds unjustly inflicted, not to earn a single penny through base profit, not to live a single day except according to God's will, to submit their will to God in fortune and misfortune, and to flee worldly honors and friendships such as these will gain pardon of their sins and be like angels of God in the sight of God.

The people who enjoy the absolution of previous sins yet do not have the will of giving up the previous vanities and inordinate affections of their mind, but who want to hold on to their unjust acquisitions, who want to love the world in themselves and in their families, who blush for humility and do want not to flee from corrupt habits or to restrain their bodies from superfluity, for such as these the feathers, that is, the indulgences, only result in a throwing up. This means that they obtain contrition and confession by which sin is thrown out and God's grace is gained. Then, if they wish to cooperate in order to obtain it for themselves, and have an upright intention, they shall fly as if on wings away from the hands of the devil and into the bosom of God.”

She answers: ”O, Mother of mercy, pray for this man, so that he may find favor in your Son's sight!” She says to her: ”The Holy Spirit does visit him, but there is something rocklike in front of his heart that prevents God's grace from entering. God, you see, is like a hen warming her eggs out of which come living chickens. All the eggs under the hen receive her warmth, but not any other eggs lying about. The mother does not herself break the shell of the egg in which the chick is being formed, but the chick tries to break the shell with its own beak. When the mother sees that, she prepares a warmer place for her chick to hatch.

Likewise, God visits everyone with his grace. Some people say to themselves: 'We want to keep away from sin and strive for perfection as far as we are able.' The Holy Spirit visits such people more frequently, so that they are more perfectly able to do so. Those people who entrust all their will to God and do not want to do even the least little thing against God's love but imitate, instead, those others whom they see tending toward perfection, abiding by the counsel of humble persons, and struggling wisely against carnal tendencies, these God places underneath himself, as a hen does with her chicks, and he makes his yoke light for them and comforts them in difficulties. Those people who follow their own will, however, and think that the little good they do is worthy of reward in God's sight, and do not strive for greater perfection but stay on in whatever delights their mind, using the example of others to excuse their own weaknesses and the corruption of others as a way to lessen their own guilt, such people do not turn into God's little chicks, because they do not possess the will to break through the hardness and vanity of their hearts. Rather, if they could, they would prefer to live for as long as they were able to persevere in sin.

That good man, Zacchaeus, did not act so, nor did Mary Magdalene. Instead, insofar as they had offended God in all their limbs, they gave him all their limbs in reparation for their offenses. Insofar as they had risen mortally in worldly rank, they lowered themselves humbly through the contempt of the world. Indeed, it is difficult to love God and the world at the same time, unless you are like the animal that has eyes both fore and aft, and no matter how careful it is, such an animal will suffer. People who are like Zacchaeus and Magdalene have chosen the safer part.”


This was a bailiff of Östergötland who came to the jubilee year more out of fear than of love. Concerning him, Christ says in Rome: ”Everyone who has escaped some danger should be careful not to fall back again into it. Overconfident sailors are at peril even in port. This man should thus beware of returning to his former office. Otherwise, if he is not careful, he will lose the object of his desires, the goods he has gathered will fall to strangers, his sons will not receive their inheritance, and he himself will die a painful death among foreigners.”
When he returned, however, he once again became a tax collector, and everything turned out as foretold.

St. Agnes's excellent instruction to the daughter about living in a good and praiseworthy fashion, and about avoiding a bad life displeasing to God. A carriage symbolizes here fortitude and patience; its four wheels symbolize these four virtues: the complete surrender of everything for God's sake, humility, loving God wisely, and restraining the flesh discerningly. Certain other things are also added about members of religious orders.

Book 4 - Chapter 17

Agnes speaks to the bride of Christ: ”Did you see Lady Pride in her carriage of pride today?” The bride answers her: ”I saw her, and I got upset, because flesh and blood, dust and dirt was looking to be praised instead of humbling herself as she ought rightly to do. Such a display means nothing other than a lavish wasting of God's gifts, mere vulgar adulation, a trial to the righteous, a misery to the poor, a provocation to God, a forgetting of one's nature, an aggravation of one's future judgment, and the loss of souls.”

Agnes answers: ”My daughter, be happy that you have been saved from things like that. Let me tell you about a carriage in which you can rest securely. The carriage where you should sit is fortitude and patience in suffering. When people begin to keep the flesh in check and to entrust all their will to God, then either the mind is troubled by pride, puffing people up above and beyond themselves, as though they were righteous and had become like God, or else impatience and lack of discernment break them so that they either fall back into their old habits or fail in strength and so become unfit for the work of God. This is why a discerning patience is necessary so that a person does not relapse impatiently or persevere undiscerningly but, rather, adapts to his or her own capacity and circumstances.

The first wheel of this carriage is a wholehearted intention to surrender everything for the sake of God and to desire nothing but God. Many there are who give up temporal possessions in order to avoid the bother but keep enough for their use and desire. Their wheel is not easily steered or guided, for when they feel the pinch of poverty, they desire adequate comfort, and when problems weigh down on them, they demand prosperity. When humiliation tries them, they murmur against God's providence and seek to obtain honors.
When asked to do something that goes against their inclinations, they desire their freedom. Accordingly, a person's will is pleasing to God when it seeks nothing of its own both in good times and in bad.

The second wheel is humility. This makes people regard themselves as unworthy of any good thing, keeping their sins in mind at all times and looking on themselves as guilty in God's sight. The third wheel is a wise love for God. A wise love for God obviously belongs to people who examine themselves and detest their vices, who are saddened by the sins of their neighbors and relatives but rejoice in their spiritual progress toward God, who do not want their friends to live for enjoyment and comfort but to serve God, and who are wary of their friends' worldly advancement, in case it entails offenses against God. Such, then, is the wise love that detests vice, that does not fawn on people in order to gain favor or honor but loves those people more who are seen to be more fervent in their charity for God.

The fourth wheel is the discerning restraint of the flesh. A married person may reason in this manner: 'Look, the flesh is pulling me about inordinately. If I live according to the flesh, I know for certain that I will anger the Creator of the flesh, who is able to wound and enfeeble, to kill and to give life. Therefore, for the love and fear of God, I will restrain my flesh with a good will. I will live in a decent and orderly way to the honor of God.' A person with such thoughts, who also seeks the help of God, has a wheel that is acceptable to God. If he or she belongs to a religious order and reasons thus: 'Look, the flesh is pulling me toward pleasure, and I even have the place, the time, the means, and the age to enjoy it, yet with God's help, and for the sake of my holy vows, I will not sin just to gain a momentary pleasure. I made a great vow to God: I entered poor and shall depart poorer and undergo judgment for each and every action. Therefore, I will abstain so as not to offend my God or scandalize my neighbor or do myself injury.' Abstinence like that deserves a great reward.

Another person may be living amid honors and pleasures and may reason in this way: 'Look, I have plenty of everything, but there are needy poor and we all have one God. What have I done to deserve what I have or what have they done not to deserve it? What, after all, is the flesh but food for worms? What are all these pleasures but a source of nausea and sickness, a waste of time and an inducement to sin? Therefore, I shall keep my flesh in check, so that worms do not run riot in it, and so that I do not receive a heavier sentence or waste my time of penance. Perhaps my poorly trained flesh will not be easily bent to the coarse fare of a pauper, but I shall withdraw it by degrees from certain delicacies that it can easily do without, so that it gets what it needs but nothing beyond that.' Someone with such thoughts, and who makes an effort to act on them according to his or her ability, can be called both confessor and martyr, for it is a kind of martyrdom to have access to pleasure and not to make use of it, to live in honor yet to despise honor, to have a great reputation yet to think little of oneself. Such a wheel is very pleasing to God.

Well, my daughter, I have described for you the image of a carriage. Its driver is your angel, so long as you do not shake off his bridle and yoke from your neck, that is, so long as you do not dismiss his saving inspirations by opening up your senses and your heart to vain or obscene things. Now I want to tell you about the kind of carriage in which that lady was seated. That carriage is obviously impatience - her impatience with God and with her fellow man and with herself. She is impatient with God when she criticizes his secret decisions, for things do not go as well for her as she would like. She maligns her fellow man, for she cannot get at his possessions. She is moreover impatient with herself, for she impatiently reveals the hidden things of her heart.

The first wheel of this carriage is pride, in that she gives preference to herself and is judgmental of others; she despises the lowly and is ambitious for honor. The second wheel is disobedience to God's precepts. This leads her to make excuses in her heart for her own weaknesses, to make light of her guilt, to be presumptuous in her heart and to defend her own wickedness. The third wheel is greediness for worldly possessions. This leads her to spend her possessions wastefully, to neglect and forget her own situation and the coming world, to fret at heart, to be lukewarm in the love of God. The fourth wheel is her self-love. This bars out reverence and fear of God and distracts her attention from her own death and judgment.

The driver of this carriage is the devil. He fills her with audacity and glee in every undertaking he inspires in her. The two horses drawing the carriage are the hope of a long life and the intention to keep on sinning until the very end. The bridle is her guilty fear about going to confession. Through her hope of a long life and her intention to persevere in sin, this guilty fear pulls the spirit from the straight path and ladens it so heavily with sin that neither fear nor shame nor warning can make her get up. Just when she thinks she is on firm footing, she will sink down to the depths unless the grace of God comes to her aid.”


Christ speaks of the same lady: ”She is a viper with the tongue of a harlot, the bile of dragons in her heart, and bitter poison in her flesh. Her eggs will therefore be poisonous. Happy are they who have no experience of the burden of them!”

The daughter's words of praise to the glorious Virgin, and the gracious response of the Virgin to the daughter. In it the Virgin grants her daughter many graces as well as many other good things both from herself and from the apostles and saints.

Book 4 - Chapter 18

“O sweet Mary,” says the bride, ”blessed are you with an eternal blessing, for you were a Virgin before childbirth, a Virgin after childbirth, a Virgin together with your spouse, an undoubted Virgin for a doubting spouse. So blessed are you, for you are Mother and Virgin, God's dearest one, purer than all the angels, the one most full of faith in the company of the apostles, alone in the bitterest sorrow of your heart, whose abstinence outshines that of all the confessors, whose chaste continence excels that of all the virgins. So may all things up above and down below bless you, for, through you, God the Creator became a man; through you the righteous find grace, sinners find pardon, the dead find life, the exiled return to their homeland.”

The Virgin answers: ”It is written that when Peter bore witness to my Son and called him the Son of God, he received the answer: 'Blessed are you, Simon, for body and blood have not revealed this to you.' So I say now: This salutation was not revealed to you by your bodily soul but by him who was without beginning and is without end. Be therefore humble, and I will be merciful to you. John the Baptist, as he promised, will be gentle to you; Peter will be mild, and Paul strong as a giant. John the Baptist is going to say to you: 'Daughter, sit on my lap!' Peter will say: 'My daughter, open your mouth, and I shall feed you with sweet food!' Paul will dress you and arm you with the arms of love. And, who am the Mother, will present you to my Son.

But, my daughter, you can understand all this even in a spiritual sense.
John, whose name means the grace of God, denotes true obedience. He was and is sweet and gentle indeed - sweet to his parents for his wondrous grace, sweet to humankind for his extraordinary preaching, sweet to God for his holiness of life and obedience. He was obedient in his youth, obedient in fortune and misfortune; obedient, and constantly humble when he might have been honored; obedient, too, in his death. This is why obedience says: 'Sit on my lap!' That means: Rise to lowly things, and you will have lofty ones. Give up bitter things and you will get sweet ones. Give up your own will, if you want to be little. Despise earthly things, and you will become heavenly. Despise superfluity, and you will have spiritual abundance.

Peter denotes holy faith: the faith of the Holy Church. Just as Peter remained steadfast until the end, so too the faith of the Holy Church will remain steadfast without end. This is why Peter, that is, the holy faith, says: 'Open your mouth and you will have good food!' This means: Open the intellect of your soul, and in the Holy Church you will find the sweetest of foods, that is, the very body of the Lord in the sacrament of the altar, the new and the old law, the teachings of the doctors, the patience of the martyrs, the humility of the confessors, the pureness of the virgins, and indeed the foundation of all the virtues. Accordingly, seek the holy faith in the church of St. Peter, keep in mind the sought-after faith, and then put it into practice.

Paul denotes patience, for he was zealous toward those who fought against holy faith, joyful in hardships, long-suffering in hope, patient in infirmities, compassionate with those in pain, humble in virtues, hospitable with the poor, merciful toward sinners, the teacher and master of all, persevering in the love of God until the end. Thus, Paul, that is, patience, will arm you with the arms of the virtues, for true patience, founded upon and strengthened by the examples and patience of Christ and his saints, enkindles the love of God in the heart, makes the spirit burn for strong action, renders a man humble, mild, merciful, zealous for heaven, mindful of himself, and persevering in the tasks undertaken.

And so, the Mother of mercy, shall introduce to my Son everyone whom obedience nourishes in the lap of humility, everyone whom the faith feeds with the food of sweetness, everyone whom patience dresses in the arms of virtue, and my Son will crown that person with his sweet crown. In him is incomprehensible strength, incomparable wisdom, unspeakable goodness, wonderful love. Then no one will be able to snatch that person away from his hand. But, my daughter, though I am speaking to you, yet by you I mean all of those who follow the holy faith with deeds of love. Just as by the one man, Israel, all Israelites were meant, so by you are understood all the true faithful.”

The daughter's words to the Lady in praise of her virtue and beauty, and the Virgin's answer confirming her praise, and the Son's comparison of his Mother to a goldsmith.

Book 4 - Chapter 19

“Sweet Mary, fresh beauty, shining beauty! Come and listen to me, so that my ugliness may be purified and my love enkindled! Your beauty gives three gifts to the head. First, the cleansing of the memory so that God's words enter smoothly; second, the pleasant retention of the words heard; third, their zealous communication to one's neighbor. Your beauty also grants three things to the heart. First, it removes the heavy burden of sloth, when your love and humility are contemplated; second, it brings tears to the eyes, when your poverty and patient suffering are brought to mind; third, it gives the heart a sweet inner fire, when the memory of your devotion is sincerely recalled.

Truly, my Lady, you are the most precious beauty, the most desirable beauty, for you are the help given to the sick, the comforter in sorrow, everyone's mediator. Thus, all those who have heard that you would be born, and those who know you to have already been born, can surely exclaim: 'Come, beauty most splendid, and light up our darkness. Come, beauty most precious, and take away our reproach. Come, beauty most sweet, and lessen our bitterness. Come, beauty most powerful, and undo our captivity. Come, beauty most fair, and destroy our foulness!” Therefore, may such great beauty be blessed and reverenced, the beauty that all the patriarchs longed to see, of which all the prophets sang, in which all the elect rejoice!”

The Mother answers: ”May God, my beauty, be blessed! It is he who has given you such words to speak! And so I tell you that the most ancient beauty, the eternal and highest beauty, which made and created me, shall be your comfort. The beauty that is oldest and yet new, renewing all things, which was in me and was born of me, shall teach you wonders. The most desirable beauty, which gives joy and delight to all, shall inflame the spirit of your love.
So trust in God, for when the heavenly beauty appears, all earthly beauty will crumble and be regarded as dung.”

Then God's Son said to his Mother: ”O blessed Mother, you are like a goldsmith preparing a beautiful object. All those who see the object are filled with gladness and present precious stones or gold in order to perfect it. Thus, dear Mother, you offer help to everyone struggling to rise to God, and leave no one without your consolation. You can therefore well be called the blood of the heart of God. Just as each member of the body receives life and strength from the blood, so too everyone comes to life again after sin and is made more fruitful before God through you.”

St. Agnes's lesson to the daughter about not relapsing and not advancing properly, and about the right way to begin or continue with abstinence, and about what kind of continence is pleasing to God.

Book 4 - Chapter 20

Agnes speaks: ”Daughter, stand firm and do not relapse, for a serpent lies at your heels ready to bite. Yet, do not rush unduly ahead either, for the tip of a sharp lance is in front of you, and if you advance at the wrong speed, you will be wounded. What does a relapse mean if not letting trials lead to regrets about having taken on a more austere and wholesome way of life and to a desire of returning to old habits and delighting the mind with dirty thoughts? Such thoughts, even if they give some pleasure to the mind, only obscure every good thing and by degrees lead away from all goodness. Nor should you rush unduly ahead, that is, punish yourself beyond your strength or imitate the good works of others beyond your capacity. God has ordained from eternity that heaven should be opened to sinners through works of love and humility, yet by preserving moderation and discretion in every way. Now, then, the envious devil persuades the imperfect man to fast beyond his strength, to promise to do unaccustomed things that he cannot manage, to desire to imitate more perfect models without considering his own strengths and weaknesses. The devil does this either in order that, when the man's strength fails him, he should continue with his badly begun vows out of human embarrassment rather than for the sake of God, or in order that he should quickly give up the struggle because of his indiscretion and weakness.

For this reason, use as your measure your own self, that is, your strengths and weaknesses, since some people are stronger by nature, others weaker, some more fervent by the grace of God, others keener due to good habits. Hence, regulate your life in agreement with the advice of God-fearing men, so that the serpent does not sting you due to your thoughtlessness, and so that the poisonous tip of the sword, that is, the poisonous suggestion of the devil, does not delude your mind so as to make you want to seem more than you are or long to become something beyond your strength and powers.

There are, indeed, some people who believe they can reach heaven by their own merits, and God spares them from the devil's temptations due to his hidden plan. There are others who think they can make reparation to God for their transgressions with their own works. The error of all of these is altogether damning, for even if a person were to kill his body a hundred times over, he could not make up a thousandth of the account he owes to God, because it is God who gives us the ability and the will, seasons and health, who fills us with a desire for the good, who gives us riches and honor, who kills and gives life, raises up and lays low. All things are in his hand. Hence to him alone should all honor be given, and no one deserves to be counted for anything before God.

Since you are wondering about the lady who came for indulgences but was corrupted, I answer you: There are some women who have the virtue of continence but do not love it. They experience neither a great longing for pleasure nor violent temptation. If honorable proposals of marriage were made to them, they would accept. However, since no great offers are made to them, they look down on lesser offers. In this way, continence sometimes gives rise to pride and presumption, which, by divine permission, leads to a fall, such as you have now heard. If a woman were so minded as not to want to be stained even once, not even if the whole world were offered her, it would be impossible for such a woman to be left to shame. If, however, in his secret justice, God permitted such a one to fall, it would rather lead to her reward than to sin, provided that she fell against her will.

Know, then, that God is like an eagle that from on high views everything down below. If an eagle should see anything rising up from the ground, it immediately swoops down and snatches it. If it catches sight of something poisonous coming against it, it would pierce it like an arrow. If something unclean is dropped on it from above, it gets rid of it with a great shake just like a goose does. God acts like that as well. If he sees human hearts rising against him due to the weakness of the flesh or the devil's temptations against the will of the spirit, he immediately swoops down through an inspiration of contrition and penance and brings it to naught, making the person return to God and come to himself again. If the poison of carnal desire or greed enters the heart, God quickly pierces the mind with the arrow of his love, so that the person does not persevere in sin and get separated from God.
If some impurity of pride or the dirt of lust defiles the spirit, he shakes it quickly off, just like a goose, through constant faith and hope, so that the spirit does not become hardened in vice or the soul that is joined to God become stained unto damnation.
Therefore, my daughter, in all your feelings and actions, consider God's justice and mercy, and always keep the end in sight.”

The bride's words to God concerning his virtue and splendor, and the Virgin's consoling answer to the daughter, and about how God's good servants should not stop preaching and admonishing people, whether the people convert or not; the Virgin shows this by means of a comparison.

Book 4 - Chapter 21

“Blessed are you, my God, who are three and one: three persons in one nature. You are goodness and wisdom itself; you are beauty and power itself; you are justice and truth itself. All things live and subsist through you. You are like a flower that grows alone in a field. All those who draw near to it receive sweetness for their palate, an uplift for their spirits, a delight for their eyes and strength in every other limb. Likewise, all who come near to you become more beautiful by leaving sin behind, more wise by following your will rather than the flesh, more righteous by seeking the advantage of the soul and the glory of God. Therefore, most kind God, grant me to love that which pleases you, to resist temptations bravely, to scorn all worldly things and to keep you constantly in my memory.”

The Mother answers: ”This salutation came to you through the merits of good Jerome, who left false wisdom and found true wisdom, who scorned earthly honor and was rewarded with God himself. Happy is such a Jerome, happy those who imitate his life and doctrine. He was a lover of widows, a mirror for those advancing toward perfection, a teacher of all truth and purity. But tell me, my daughter, what is troubling you in your heart?” She said:
”A thought occurred to me that said, 'If you are good, your goodness is enough for you. Why judge and admonish and teach your betters, something that belongs neither to your state nor position?' This thought so hardens the spirit that it even neglects its own progress and grows completely cold to God's love.”

The Mother answers: ”This thought has also held back many advanced souls from God. The devil hinders good people from speaking to the wicked so that they may not be brought to feel compunction. He also hinders them from speaking to the good so that they will not be raised to a higher rank, for, when good people hear good doctrine, they are raised to a greater reward and a higher rank. For example, the eunuch who was reading Isaiah would have received one of the lesser punishments in hell, but Philip met him and taught him a shortcut to heaven and so raised him up to a level of happiness. Likewise, Peter was sent to Cornelius. If Cornelius had died beforehand, he would indeed have come to a place of rest because of his faith, but then came Peter and led him to the gateway to life. Similarly, Paul came to Denis and led him to the reward of blessedness. For this reason, the friends of God should not grow tired in God's service but should labor on in order that the wicked may be made better and the good may attain a greater perfection.

Anyone with the will to whisper in the ears of every passerby that Jesus Christ truly is the Son of God, and who struggles as far as he or she can for the conversion of others, even though no one or only a few convert, will still obtain the same reward as if all of them had converted. I will show you this by means of a comparison. If, on the order of their lord, two mercenaries dig through the hard rock of a mountain, and one of them were to find choice gold there, but the other none, both of them would be deserving of the same wages because of their work and their intention. In the same way, Paul, who converted many people, and the other apostles, who converted fewer, were nevertheless all united in their intention. God's dispensation, however, remains hidden. One should therefore never give up, not even if only a few or none at all are open to God's words. As the thorn protects the rose and the donkey carries his master, so too the devil, like a thorn of sin, is as useful to the elect through the tribulations he causes as thorns are to roses. In this way, they are not stupidly overcome by the presumption of their hearts. Thus, just like a donkey, he conveys them to God's consolation and a greater reward.”

About how human malice in modern times surpasses the cunning of the devil, and about how people are now quicker to sin than the devil is to tempt, and about the sentence pronounced against such people, and how God's friends should labor with courage and haste in their preaching; also, concerning the infusion of knowledge in God's friends.

Book 4 - Chapter 22

The Son speaks: ”If I could get upset, I would rightly be able to say now: I regret having made humankind. They have become like animals that of their own free will run into the nets. However much you cry out to them, they still follow their own selfish appetites. And not all the blame can be put on the devil's violent attempts on humankind - no, rather, the people themselves outstrip his malice. Like hunting dogs that are first led on leashes, but then, once they are accustomed to catching and devouring animals, speedily reach the prey ahead of their leader, so also humankind, now accustomed to sinning and fascinated by it, is quicker to sin than the devil is to tempt. That is not strange. It has been a long time since the Apostolic See, the head of the world, was pleasing to God by its sanctity of life and example, as it was in earlier times, and all the other members have therefore been made weak and listless. They do not consider the reason why God in his riches became poor and needy - in order to teach us to scorn perishable things and to love heavenly ones. Man is poor by nature but has become rich by means of false riches. This is what everyone tries to imitate, and few are found who do not imitate it.

Hence, the plowman shall come from the Almighty. Whetted by the wisest One, he does not seek property or beautiful bodies nor has any respect for the power of the mighty nor fears the threats of princes nor is swayed by human favor. He shall sow human flesh and raze to the ground the homes of spirits; he shall deliver bodies to maggots and souls to the ones whom they served. Therefore, may my friends, to whom I am sending you, labor with courage and with haste, for what I am telling you will not take place in the last days, as I said before, but in these very days. Many of those yet living will see with their own eyes the fulfillment of the scripture that says: 'May their wives be widows and their sons fatherless,' and they shall lose all that they desire.

However, I, merciful God, shall receive all those that come to me in humility. I shall give myself to those who fulfill the works of righteousness, for it is right to clean out the house in which the king shall enter, to wash the glass so that the drink may be clear, to thresh the grain briskly from its husks, and to press down hard on whatever is being molded into a form so that it attains the shape of the form. As summer comes after winter, so too I shall grant consolation after their hardships to those who long to be as little children and who place more value on the things of heaven than on those of earth. However, just as a man is not born and dies at one and the same time, so all this will be fulfilled in its own time.

Know, too, that I intend to treat some people according to the common proverb: 'The whip will spur him on' - the pain will compel him to speed up.
I will treat others as it is written: 'Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.' To a third set of people I shall speak soothingly and inspiringly: 'Come, ignorant and simple persons, and I shall give you a mouth and a wisdom such as the tongue-waggers will not be able to oppose.' This is what I have already done in these days: I have filled the simple with my wisdom, and they are proof against the learned. I cast out the boastful and mighty, and they quickly subsided. That is no wonder: For I commanded the wise to cut off the serpents' tongues, as you heard, and they refused. Not even their mother, who was the scourge of the commons, was willing to quench their throats in order to quench the fire of desire kindled in her children's hearts, as I bade. This is why I have cut them down in their season of happiness and have cut off their own tongues.”

The words of John the Evangelist to the glorious Virgin about a mere sinful hypocrite, and the Virgin's answer regarding his characteristics, and about the devil's deceptions toward him, and about how the good spirit is recognized by seven signs and the bad spirit is discerned by as many signs.

Book 4 - Chapter 23

John the Evangelist said to God's Mother: ”Hear me, Virgin and Mother of one Son, not several sons, Mother of the only begotten Son of God, the fashioner and redeemer of all things. Listen, I say, as you surely do listen, to how this man has been deceived by the devil, how he is struggling to obtain something impossible, how and in what matters he has been instructed by the spirit of lies, how far he has removed himself from God in his sheep's clothing but with his lion's heart. I taught that there are three who bear witness in heaven and on earth: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The evil spirit, however, bears witness to this man that he has become completely holy. Yet the Father does not strengthen him with his power nor does the Son visit him with his wisdom nor does the Holy Spirit inflame him with his love. That is no wonder, for he aspires to power against the power of the Father; he wants to be wise against the wisdom of the Son; he is inflamed but not as the Holy Spirit sets aflame. So ask your Son either to take him away soon, so that no more souls may be lost, or to humble him quickly for his errors.”

The Mother answered: ”Hear me, then, virgin, though you are a male and not a female person. You are the one whom it pleased God to call away from the world through the easiest of deaths after my own. Indeed, it was as though I had fallen asleep when my soul and body were separated, but then I awoke in everlasting joy. No wonder, indeed, for I had suffered more bitterly than all the others at my Son's death, and it pleased God thus to separate me from the world through the easiest of deaths. But you were closest to me among the apostles, and the object of greater signs of affection than all the others, and my Son's passion was bitterer for you than for the rest, because you beheld it at a closer distance than others, and you also lived longer than the others, as if you became a martyr through the deaths of them all. It therefore pleased God to call you from the world through the easiest of deaths after my own, for the Virgin had been entrusted to a virgin. Therefore, what you asked for shall be done without delay.

My daughter, let me show you what sort of person this man is of whom we are speaking. He is like a servant of that coin-maker, the devil. The devil melts down and then stamps his coin - that is, his servant - with his suggestions and temptations, until he has fashioned him after his liking. Once he has corrupted and twisted a person's will toward the pleasures of the flesh and the love of the world, he then impresses his image and signature on the person, and it becomes apparent enough from external signs who it is whom that person wholeheartedly loves. When a man carries out in act the desire of his mind and wants to get more involved in worldly affairs than his state in life requires, and would do and desire even more things, if he were able, then he is shown to be the devil's perfect coin.

You should realize, however, that God's coin differs from the devil's coin. God's coin is of gold, shining, pliable, and precious. Every soul with the stamp of God on it shines with divine love, is pliable in her patience, and precious in her continual good works. Accordingly, every good soul is melted down by God's power and tested with many temptations. Through them the soul, contemplating her defects and her origins as well as God's kindness and patience toward her, is rendered all the more precious to God, the more humble, patient, and conscientious she is found to be.

The devil's coin, however, is of copper and lead. It is copper, because it bears a likeness to gold: It is hard and pliable, yet not the way gold is.
Likewise, the unrighteous soul seems to herself to be righteous, judges everyone, is more interested in herself than in others, is unpliable with respect to humble actions, soft in acting in her own interest, intractable in her own plans, admirable to the world, despicable to God. The devil's coin is also leaden in that it is ugly, soft and pliable, and heavy. Likewise, the unrighteous soul is ugly in her lustful desires, burdensome in her longing for the world, as pliable as a reed that bends in the direction of whatever the devil inspires in her mind, sometimes, indeed, being even more ready to do it than the devil is to tempt her to it. This is the disposition of the coin-maker's servant. He gets bored in keeping the observances of his rule, as he vowed, and thinks up ways of gaining people's appreciation through a pretended holiness, all the while feeding his body sumptuously. The devil, then, soon filled his head with lies at night. They deluded him into believing impossible things that will not come to be. Instead, his life will be cut short, and he will not obtain the honor for which he so longs.

Whenever one comes across an unknown coin, one sends it to a wise expert who has sufficient knowledge of its weight and shape. But where will we find such an expert? Even if we did find him, he may care little or nothing about whether the coin is counterfeit or genuine. There is only one solution in such a case, as I will explain by way of a comparison. If you handed a florin to a dog, it would not bother to take it. But if the florin were coated with fat, there is no doubt that the dog would take it then. The present case is like that. If you went to a theological expert and said: 'That man is a heretic,' he would not be bothered, for his love of God is altogether grown cold. However, if you said: 'He has plenty of florins,' then everyone would rush to him. Therefore, it will soon be as Paul says: 'I will destroy and humble the wisdom of the wise, and I will exalt the humble.'

My daughter, you can recognize both the Holy Spirit and the unclean spirit through seven signs. First, the Spirit of God makes a man deem the world worthless and consider in his heart all worldly honor as mere air. Second, it endears God to the soul, and all delight in the flesh grows cold. Third, it inspires him to patience and to glorying only in God. Fourth, it stimulates the mind to be loving and compassionate with one's neighbor and even with one's enemies. Fifth, it inspires him to all kinds of abstinence, even from licit things. Sixth, it makes him trust in God in the midst of hardships and even to glory in hardships. Seventh, it gives him the desire of wanting to depart and to be with Christ, rather than to prosper in the world and become soiled.

The evil spirit has seven effects to the contrary. First, it makes the world seem sweet, and heaven distasteful. Second, it makes a man seek honors and forget about the meaning of his life. Third, it arouses hatred and impatience in the heart. Fourth, it makes him bold toward God and obstinate in his own plans. Fifth, it leads him to make light of his sins and to make excuses for them. Sixth, it inspires in him frivolity of mind and every carnal impurity.
Seventh, it inspires in him the hope of a long life and a feeling a shame about going to confession. Guard your thoughts carefully, then, so that you do not get deceived by this spirit.”


This was a priest of the Cistercian order who, after eighteen years of apostasy, repented and returned to the monastery. He said that it was impossible for anyone to be damned and denied that God spoke with anyone in this world or that anyone could see the face of God prior to God's judgment. When Lady Birgitta heard this, the Holy Spirit said to her: ”Go and tell that brother this: 'Brother, you do not see as I do how the devil still keeps your mind and tongue tied even in your old age. God is eternal, and his reward is eternal. Therefore, return quickly and wholeheartedly to God and to the true faith, for you will assuredly not get up out of this bed but die. However, if you believe, you will be a vessel for God's honor.' ”

He was reduced to tears and thanked Lady Birgitta, and he reformed his life so perfectly that, when his brothers were called together at the hour of his death, he told them: ”O my brothers, I am assured that God all merciful has accepted my contrition and will grant me pardon. Pray for me, because I believe everything that the Holy Church believes.” Then, after having received God's sacraments, he passed away.

The Virgin's words to the daughter about how God's servants should behave toward impatient people, and about how pride is likened to a vat.

Book 4 - Chapter 24

The Mother speaks: ”When a vat of beer is heated up and starts to swell and rise, it steams and foams up, sometimes more, sometimes less, and then suddenly settles down again. People standing around the vat understand that these exhalations quickly sink down and that they arise due to the strength of the beer and are a way of releasing the heat. So they wait patiently for it to end and for the beer or the wine to be ready. Two things happen when people standing around the vat put their noses too close to the bubbles: They suffer either a violent sneezing or a bad headache.

It is the same in the spiritual life. It sometimes happens that some people's hearts swell and rise due to the pride and impatience of their minds.
When virtuous men see such a swelling up, they understand that it proceeds either from spiritual instability or carnal motives. Therefore, they put up patiently with that person's insulting words and look toward the end, knowing that the calm follows the storm, and that patience is stronger than a besieger of cities, since it conquers the man within, which is the most difficult thing to do. There are, however, those who are overly impatient, and they repay insult for insult. Paying no attention to the glorious reward of patience, nor to the contemptibility of worldly favor, these people incur an illness of mind due to their impatient temptations - they bring their noses too close to the bubbling vat, that is, they take the insults, which are nothing but air, too much to heart.

So, whenever any of you see people being impatient, guard your tongues with God's help, and do not leave off doing the good work you have begun because of impatient words. Pretend instead, and as far as justice allows, that you have not heard what you have heard, until those people who are looking for an argument say explicitly what they mean in their hearts.”

The Mother's admonishment to the daughter about how a person should not pay attention to carnal desires but should nourish the body on a moderate diet of necessities, and about how a person should stand by his or her body but not in the body.

Book 4 - Chapter 25

The Mother speaks: ”You should be like a bride standing before the bed-curtain, ready to do as the bridegroom wishes as soon as he calls. This bed-curtain is the body that veils the soul and has to be constantly washed, tried, and tested. The body is like a donkey that needs a diet moderate enough so as not to become gluttonous, sensible work so as not to become proud, and constant beating so as not to grow lazy.

So, stand by the bed-curtain, that is, stand by the body but not in the body in the sense of attending to the desires of the flesh but nourishing the body on a moderate diet of necessities. That person stands by the body and not in the body who keeps his or her body from unnecessary desire for food. Stand also behind the bed-curtain in the sense of scorning the lust of the flesh, doing honor to God, and spending your energies entirely for him.

In this way stood those who spread their bodies out like clothes for God, who were at all times ready to do as he wished, whenever it pleased him to call them. They did not have a long way to go to him whom they kept ever present. Heavy burdens did not weigh upon their necks, for they scorned every burden and were in the world in body alone. This is why they flew free and unimpeded to heaven. Nothing impeded them but a dry and well-disciplined garment, and when they had taken it off, they obtained their heart's desire.
This man had a dangerous fall but wisely raised himself up. He defended himself like a man, fought steadfastly, and persevered with persistence. This is why he shall now receive an eternal crown and find himself already in the presence of God.”

The Virgin's admonition to the daughter about which virtuous acts merit eternal life and which do not, and about the great merit there is in obedience.

Book 4 - Chapter 26

“A tree has many blossoms, but not all of them come to fruition. Likewise there are many virtuous acts, yet they do not all merit a reward in heaven, if they are not done with wise discretion. For example, fasting, prayer, visits to shrines of the saints are virtuous acts, but if they are not done with the spirit of a person who hopes to enter heaven with humility, considering himself a useless servant in every way and showing wise discretion in everything, then they are of little value for eternity.

Consider the case of two men, one of whom is under obedience, while the other is free and unbound. If the one who is free fasts, he will get an ordinary reward. However, if the one who is under obedience eats meat on a day of fasting in accordance with the ordinance of his rule and for the sake of obedience, though he would rather fast if it had not been against obedience, then he will get a double reward: first, because of his obedience; second, because he put off his own desire and did not carry out his own wishes.

You should therefore be like a bride who prepares the bridal chamber before the bridegroom comes. Be also like a mother who prepares the baby's clothes before it is born. Again, be like a tree that bears flowers before the coming of the fruits. Finally, be like a clean glass ready to receive the drink before it is poured.”

The Virgin's complaint to the daughter about a man of counterfeit devotion, comparing him to a poorly armed squire in a physical battle.

Book 4 - Chapter 27

The Mother speaks: ”That man there says he loves me, but he turns his back to me when he is serving me. When I speak to him, he says: 'What's that you say?' and he averts his eyes from me and looks at other things more to his delight. He is strangely armed. He is like a soldier in a physical battle who has the visor of his helmet at the back of his head and carries his shield on his shoulders when he should have it on his arm. His scabbard is empty, for he had cast off his sword. His cloak, which should protect his chest and body, is lying under him on the saddle, and his saddle is not strapped to the horse.

This is the way this man is armed spiritually in God's sight. Accordingly, he does not know how to distinguish between friend and foe nor how to inflict injury on the enemy. The spirit that fights in him is like one who reasons as follows: 'I want to be among the last line of soldiers in the fight, so that I can keep the thicket of the woods in sight, in case the first soldiers lose the battle. But if they win, I will run up front quickly so that I will be counted among the first soldiers.'
Thus, the man who gave up the fight acted according to the wisdom of the flesh and not for the love of God.”

The Virgin's words about three kinds of hardship, symbolized by three kinds of bread.

Book 4 - Chapter 28

The Mother speaks: ”When you make dough, you have to knead and work it a lot. Fine wheaten bread is set before lords, but coarser bread is set before commoners, and an even worse kind of bread is given to dogs.

The kneading stands for hardship. A spiritual person suffers great hardship when God does not receive honor from his creatures and when there is little charity in them. Those who suffer in this way are the kind of fine wheat in which God and all the heavenly host rejoice. All those troubled by worldly adversity are like the coarser kind of bread. For many people, however, this coarser kind is good enough for them to reach heaven. Those who suffer because they are not able to do all the evil they wish are like the bread of the dogs in hell.”

The Mother's words to the daughter about how there are devils to make people fall, others to slow down their progress, and still others to tempt them in fasting, and about the way to oppose these devils.

Book 4 - Chapter 29

The Mother speaks: ”All these beings that you see surrounding you are your spiritual enemies, that is, spirits of the devil. The ones who can be seen with poles that have nooses are the ones who want you all to fall into mortal sins. Those whom you see with grappling hooks in their hands are the ones who desire to slow you down in God's service and make you reluctant to do good. Those holding the instruments with spikes like pitchforks to get a hold of and stimulate human desire are the ones who tempt you to take on good deeds that exceed your capacity - whether they are fasts, vigils, prayers, and toils or just spending your money in an unreasonable manner. Since these spirits are so eager to harm people, you must have the intention of not wanting to offend God. Furthermore, you must ask God to give you aid against their cruelty. In this way, then, their threats will not harm you.”

The Mother's words to the daughter about how the precious and beautiful things of the world do not harm God's servants, even though they make use of them, so long as they use them in God's honor, and she points to the example of Paul.

Book 4 - Chapter 30

“It is written that Paul, that good apostle, said that he was a wise man in the presence of the prince who had arrested Peter, and he called Peter a truly poor man. Paul did not sin in this, because his words were for the honor of God.
This is also the case with those who desire and long to speak God's words. Unless they are dressed in suitable attire, they cannot come before the lords. Thus, they do not sin by dressing suitably, so long as they do not in their heart and mind regard the gold and clothes and precious gems as being more precious than their old accustomed clothing, since all the things that seem precious are but earth.”

The Mother's words to the daughter showing her, by means of a comparison, that God's preachers and friends will not receive a lesser reward in God's sight if people are not converted by the preaching they have done with an upright intention than they would if the people do convert.

Book 4 - Chapter 31

God's Mother speaks: ”Someone hires a worker for a job and tells him: 'Carry sand from the shore and examine each load to see if you can find a grain of gold there.' His wages will not be less if he finds nothing than if he uncovers a great amount.
This is also the case of a person who for the love of God labors in word and deed for the advancement of souls. His wages will not be less if he converts none of them than if he converts many. It is just as in the teacher's example. He said, 'A warrior who goes off to war on the orders of his lord, who is willing to struggle mightily but returns wounded and without having captured the enemy, will for the sake of his good intention receive no less a reward, though the battle was lost, than if he had obtained victory.'
It is the same with the friends of God. For each word and deed they do for God's sake and for the benefit of souls, and for each hour of hardship they suffer for God's sake, they will be rewarded, whether many convert or none at all.”

The Mother's words to the daughter about her infinite mercy toward sinners and toward those who praise and honor her.

Book 4 - Chapter 32

The Mother speaks: ”You have an expression that says, 'That sort of thing could make me leave my homeland.' I tell you so now: Nobody in the world is so great a sinner - provided he says in his heart that my Son is the Creator and Redeemer of the universe and dear to him in his inmost heart - that I am not prepared to come to him immediately, like a loving mother to her son, and hug him and say: 'What would you like, my son?' Even if he had deserved the lowest punishment in hell, nevertheless, if only he has the intention of not caring for worldly honors or greed or carnal lust, such as the church condemns, and desires nothing but his own sustenance, then he and I will right away get along quite well together.

Tell the man who composes songs of praise for me - not for the sake of his own praise or reward but in praise of him who is worthy of all praise because of all his works - that just as worldly princes give a worldly reward to the people who praise them, so I will give him a spiritual remuneration. Just as there are many notes on a single syllable, so it pleases God to give him a crown in heaven for each syllable in his song. It will be said of him: 'Here comes the praiser, who did not compose his song for any temporal good but for God's sake alone.' ”


This man had temptations concerning the Holy Trinity. In an ecstasy he saw what looked like the faces of three women. The first said: ”I have attended many weddings, but I have never seen one to be three.” The second answered: ”If there are three and one, it is necessary that one of them must be prior and another posterior, or else two in one.” And the third added: ”They cannot have created themselves, so who made them?” Then the Holy Spirit said openly: ”We will come to him and make our abode in him.” And when he awoke, he was free of the temptation.

After this, Christ said to Lady Birgitta: ”I am one and three. I want to show you what the Father's power is, what the Son's wisdom is, what the Holy Spirit's might is, in order to make known that I, God, am three and one: Father and Son and Holy Spirit.” This revelation is complete once it is preached from the pulpit.

Christ said again: ”Tell him that he gains greater merit in my sight through his illness than through his health. Lazarus grew brighter due to his pain, and Job more beloved due to his suffering. However, my chosen ones are not displeasing to me when they have good health, since their heart is always with me and their body remains in wise abstinence and pious works.”

The bride's notable words about the city of Rome. They take the form of an inquiry, pointing to the Romans' earlier consolation, devotion, and good order, among both clerics and lay people, and asking why all this has now sadly been turned into desolation and disorder and abomination, as is clear from all the aforesaid, and about how unhappy Rome is both materially and spiritually.

Book 4 - Chapter 33

Reverend Sir, in addition to the other points of discussion, the pope should be told about the pitiable state of this city. Once it was a happy city, both materially and spiritually, but now it is unhappy, both materially and spiritually. It is materially unhappy, because its secular leaders, who should be its defenders, have turned into its cruelest plunderers. That is why its buildings lie in ruins. That is why many of its churches have been completely deserted, in which are preserved the relics of the saints whose blessed bones shine with glorious miracles and whose souls have been crowned in God's kingdom on high. With their ceilings fallen in and their doors removed, the temples of these saints have been converted into latrines for men, dogs, and beasts. The city is spiritually unhappy, because many of the decrees issued in the church by holy popes under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God and the salvation of souls have now been abolished. In their place, alas, many new abuses have been adopted under the inspiration of the evil spirit for the dishonor of God and the perdition of souls.

The Holy Church had decreed that the clerics who were to go on to holy orders should follow a blessed way of life, serving God with solid devotion, and presenting to others a way of life worthy of the heavenly homeland through their good works. Ecclesial proceeds used to be given to such as these. Against this custom of the church, however, a grave abuse has arisen. This is that the goods of the church are given to laymen who, because of their canonical title, do not get married but, instead, shamelessly keep concubines in their homes by day and in their beds at night, asserting boldly: ”We are not allowed to marry, because we are canons.”

Priests, deacons, and subdeacons, once upon a time, greatly abhorred the infamy of an impure life. Now, however, some of them are plainly delighted to see their whores walking about with swollen bellies in the midst of other women. They do not even blush when they are told by their friends: ”A daughter or son will soon be borne for you, sir.” Such men are more justly called the devil's pimps than ordained priests of the supreme God.

The holy fathers such as Benedict and others established monastic rules with the permission of the supreme pontiff. They built monasteries where the abbots used to live together with the friars, devoutly celebrating the night-hours and day-hours of the office and carefully forming the monks in a life of virtue. It was a pleasure, indeed, to visit monasteries then, when the chant of the monks used to give honor and glory to God by day and night, when people of evil living were set right by the very beauty of the monks' lives, when good people were strengthened by the godly teaching of prelates, and when the souls in purgatory obtained a blessed rest through their devout prayers. That monk was then held in highest honor who observed the rule most carefully, and he had the respect of God and men. A monk, however, who did not bother to keep the rule knew without a doubt that he would incur scandal and damnation. Moreover, everyone used to be able to see and recognize a monk by his habit.

However, contrary to that excellent arrangement, a detestable abuse has now sprung up in many places. Abbots dwell more frequently in their own castles or wherever they like, whether in the city or outside it. This is why it is now painful to visit monasteries. Very few monks show up in the choir at the time for the divine office, and sometimes none at all. There are few readings, and sometimes no chants, and many days masses are not even said. Good people are disturbed by the bad reputation of the monks, and bad people are made much worse by contact with them. Furthermore, it is to be feared that few souls receive any alleviation of their punishments from the prayers of such as these.

Many monks live in town. Some of these have their own homes, and when their friends come to visit, they pick up their own children with a joyful hug, saying: ”Here's my son!” A monk can scarcely be recognized nowadays in habit. The cloak that used to reach down to the feet now scarcely covers the knees. The long sleeves, which used to be decently wide, are now tight fitting and crimped. A sword hangs at their side instead of a stylus and writing tablets.
Hardly a single garment can be found on them to denote a monk, except for a scapular, which is often hidden from view as though it were some kind of scandal to be wearing a monkish garment. It does not even embarrass some of them to have a coat of mail and other weapons beneath their cloaks so that they can do what they like after their drinking-bouts.

There have been saints who gave up great wealth and started monastic orders based on poverty, who practiced contempt toward any kind of cupidity and, consequently, did not wish to have anything of their own. They abhorred all kinds of conceit and worldly pomp. They dressed in the poorest of clothes, utterly detesting the concupiscence of the flesh, and thus maintaining their purity of life. They and their followers are called mendicant friars, and the Roman pontiffs confirmed their rules with joy, seeing that they wanted to follow such a way of life for the glory of God and the benefit of souls. Yet it is a sorrow to behold even their rules now converted into detestable occasions of abuse and scarcely observed in the way that Augustine, Dominic, and Francis prescribed under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, rules faithfully observed by many a wealthy nobleman for such a long time!

To be sure, as rumor now has it, there are many men called wealthy who, as far as valuables and money are concerned, are poorer than those who have taken a vow of poverty. Thus, most of them have their own possessions, which their rule forbids, and find greater joy in their accursed property than in holy and glorious poverty. They pride themselves, moreover, on having as expensive and precious material in their habits as found in the vestments of wealthy bishops.

Furthermore, blessed Gregory and other saints had convents built in which women could live in such seclusion that they were hardly to be seen even in daytime. Now, however, there is so much abuse in the convents that their doors are kept open for clerics and laymen alike, whomever it pleases the sisters to let in, even at night. Accordingly, such places are more like brothels than holy cloisters.

It also used to be the church's rule that no one was to receive money for hearing confessions, although, as was only just, penitentiaries were allowed to accept money from persons in need of testimonial letters. A contrary abuse has now arisen according to which rich persons offer however much they like, once they have made their confession, while poor people, before their confession is heard, are forced by the penitentiary to come to an agreement. Indeed, when penitentiaries give oral absolution, they are not ashamed to take money in their hands and put it in their pockets.

It was likewise established in the church? That at least once a year every person should confess his or her sins and receive the body of Christ. This applied to lay people, because clerics and religious did this more often during the year. Second, it was established that people unable to practice continence should live in matrimony. A third rule was that, with the exception of those who were seriously ill or in great difficulties, all Christians were to fast during Lent and on ember days and the vigils of other feast days, which are still well enough known to almost everybody. The fourth rule was that everyone was to abstain from any kind of worldly labor on feast days. The fifth was that no Christian should make financial or any other kind of profit through usury.

Contrary to these five excellent statutes, there have arisen five immoral and seriously harmful abuses. The first is that for every one person who goes to confession and receives the body of Christ, not counting priests, religious, and certain women, there are one hundred who come of age and die here in Rome without ever having gone to confession or received the body of Christ any more often than genuine idolaters. The second abuse is that many men take legally wedded wives, but, if they have a disagreement with them, they abandon them for as long as they like, without the requisite authorization from the church, and take mistresses in their wives' place, loving them and holding them in honor. Some of them do not even shrink from keeping a mistress in the same house as their wife, but rather rejoice to hear them both giving birth at the same time.

The third abuse is that many people in good health eat meat during Lent and very few are content with one meal a day. Some, too, are found who do abstain from meat and eat Lenten fare during the day but indulge themselves with meat at night in secret taverns.
Indeed, sometimes clerics do this together with laymen. They are just like the Saracens who fast by day and indulge themselves with meat at night. The fourth abuse is that, while some laborers do abstain from work on feast days, there are wealthy men who do not leave off sending their hired hands to work in the vineyards, plow the fields, cut down trees in the woods, and carry the wood home on feast days. In this way, poor people enjoy no more quiet rest on feast days than on workdays. The fifth abuse is that Christians practice usury just' like the Jews, and, in fact, Christian usurers are greedier than Jewish ones.

Further, it was the custom of the church to bring such people as described above into line by means of anathema, but, contrary to this, the following abuse has now arisen. There are, namely, a great number of people who are no more afraid of being condemned than they are of being commended. Even if they know that they have been publicly excommunicated, they do not even bother to avoid entering the church or other dealings and conversations with people. In fact, few priests forbid excommunicates from going into a church. Few as well shun dealings and conversations with excommunicates, if they are bound to them by any kind of friendship. Nor is sacred burial denied to excommunicated people, if they are rich.

Accordingly, Reverend Sir, do not be surprised if I have described the city of Rome as unhappy due to such abuses and many others opposed to ecclesiastical statutes. Hence, it is to be feared that the Catholic faith will soon perish, unless some such man arrives who, with a real and not a counterfeit faith, loves God above all things and his neighbor as himself and abolishes all these abuses. Have compassion, then, on the church and on those of her clergy who love God wholeheartedly and abhor all these wicked customs. They have been like orphans due to the pope's absence, but they have defended the see of their father like sons and have wisely opposed the traitors, persevering in the midst of much hardship.

The bride's vision about various punishments being prepared for a certain soul as yet alive in body, and about how all these kinds of punishments, if his soul should be converted before death, would be converted into the greatest honor and glory.

Book 4 - Chapter 34

It seemed to me that I saw some people standing around getting ropes ready, while some were standing and getting horses ready, and others were busy forging tongs or constructing a gallows. While I was looking at all this, a maiden appeared who seemed to be troubled. She asked if I understood it all. When I answered that I did not understand, she said: ”All this that you see is the spiritual punishment being prepared for the soul of that man whom you know. The ropes are for tying to the horse that will drag his soul. The tongs are for tearing his nose, eyes, ears, and lips off. The gallows is for hanging him.”

Since I was upset over this, the maiden told me: ”Do not be upset. There is still time. If he wants, he will be able to break the ropes, knock down the horses, melt the tongs like wax, and remove the gallows. Moreover, he can obtain such an ardent love of God that these symbols of punishments will become for him the highest marks of honor, so much so that the ropes that were to bind him in contempt will be turned into belts of gold for him. Instead of the horses that were to drag him across the plains, angels will be sent to escort him into the presence of God. Instead of the tongs with which he was to be terribly mutilated, his nostrils will be filled with a fine fragrance and his mouth with a fine taste, his eyes with the loveliest of sights, his ears with the most delightful of melodies.”


This man was a marshal of the king. He came to Rome with so much humility and contrition that he would frequently go around the stations with bared head, praying to God and getting others to pray that he would not return to his country if that meant a relapse into his former sins. God heard his petition. When he left Rome and came to Montefiascone, he fell ill and died there.

Another revelation also concerns him: ”Daughter, see what God's mercy accomplishes, what a good intention accomplishes. This soul was in the jaws of the lion, but his good intention snatched him away from the lion's teeth, and he is now on the way to the homeland, and he will partake of all the goods that occur in the church of God.”

The bride's words to Jesus Christ about her desire for the salvation of souls, and the answer given her through the Holy Spirit, namely that people's excesses and superfluity in food and drink are an obstacle to the visitations of the Holy Spirit given to them.

Book 4 - Chapter 35

O sweet Jesus, creator of all that has been created! Would that these people knew and understood the warmth of your Holy Spirit! Then they would long more for heaven and abhor the things of the earth. An answer immediately came to me in spirit, saying: ”Their excesses and superfluity are an obstacle to the visitations of the Holy Spirit. You see, excesses in food and drink and in banqueting with friends prevent both the Holy Spirit from becoming sweet to them and their having had enough of worldly pleasure. Excess of gold and silver, equipment, clothing, and income prevent the spirit of my love from inflaming and kindling their hearts. Excess of servants and horses and animals are an obstacle to the approach of the Holy Spirit. No, indeed, they withdraw themselves from their servants, my angels, while their betrayers, the devils, draw near to them. They are therefore ignorant of the sweetness and the visitation by which I, who am God, visit holy souls and my friends.”

God's words to the bride about how the religious used to enter monasteries out of holy fear and divine charity, but now God's enemies, that is, false religious, go off into the world out of wicked pride and cupidity; similarly, about knights and their knightly service.

Book 4 - Chapter 36

“Hear now what my enemies do as opposed to what my friends once did.
My friends used to enter monasteries out of wise fear and divine charity. But those who are now in the monasteries go off into the world out of pride and cupidity, following their selfish will and living for the pleasures of their body. The judgment for those who die with such a disposition is that they shall neither experience nor obtain heavenly joy but only endless punishment in hell. Know, too, that those who live in a cloister but are forced by divine charity and against their own will to become superiors shall not be counted in that number. Knights, moreover, who used to bear arms, were prepared to give their lives for justice and to shed their blood for the sake of the holy faith by helping the needy to obtain justice and by restraining evildoers and keeping them humble.

Yet, now hear how far they have turned away. Nowadays they prefer to die in war for the sake of pride and cupidity and envy, on the promptings of the devil, rather than to live according to my commands in order to obtain everlasting joy. Therefore, the wages of a just condemnation shall be given to all those who die with such a disposition. This means that devils will be given to their souls to be eternally joined with them as their wages. However, those who do serve me are to receive their soldier's wages together with the heavenly army forever without end.”

Christ's words to the bride asking her how it stands with the world, and she answers that it is like an open sack to which everyone senselessly runs, and about Christ's severe and just condemnation of such people.

Book 4 - Chapter 37

The Son speaks: ”Daughter, how stands the world now?” She answers: ”Like an open sack to which everyone runs, like a man running without caring what he is following.” The Lord answers: ”Therefore, I am right to go with my plow over the earth, plowing over Gentiles and Christians, sparing neither old nor young, neither poor nor rich. Each shall be judged according to his or her own righteousness, and each shall die in his or her own sin, and their homes shall be left without inhabitants. However, I shall not do this until the consummation.”

She replied: ”O Lord, do not get angry if I speak. Send some of your friends to warn and admonish them about their danger!” And the Lord said: ”It is written that when the rich man despaired of his own salvation in hell, he asked that someone might be sent to warn his brothers so that they would not perish in the same way. The answer to him was: 'That shall in no way be done, for they have Moses and the prophets to teach them.' So I tell you now: They have the Gospels and the sayings of the prophets, they have the words and examples of the holy doctors, they have reason and intelligence. Let them make use of these things, and they will be saved. If I send you, you would not be able to cry out loud enough to be heard. If I send my friends, there are but few of them, and if they cry out, they will scarcely be heard.
However, I will send my friends to those I choose, and they shall prepare the way for God.”

Jesus Christ's words to the bride about not putting trust in dreams but, rather, being wary of them, no matter how happy or sad they are, and about how the devil mixes falsehoods with truth in dreams, because of which many errors occur in the world, and about how the prophets did not err, because they truly loved God above all things.

Book 4 - Chapter 38

The Son speaks: ”Why do happy dreams lift you up so much? And why do sad dreams depress you so? Did I not tell you that the devil is envious and can accomplish no more without God's permission than a piece of straw beneath your feet? I also told you that he is the father and inventor of lies and that he mixes some truth in with all his falsehoods. I tell you, accordingly, that the devil never sleeps but goes around looking for an occasion to ensnare you.

You must therefore be careful so that the devil does not deceive you, using his subtle knowledge to discover your inner states by means of your outer movements. Sometimes he induces happy moods into your heart to make you feel empty joy; at other times he gives you sad ones to make you omit in your sorrow the good deeds that you could do and to make you sad and wretched before anything sad has occurred.

Sometimes the devil also puts a great many falsehoods into the kind of deluded heart that desires worldly esteem and so deceives many people, such as false prophets. This happens to people who love other things more than God. This is why it happens that a lot of truth is found in the midst of a great many false words, for the devil could never deceive anyone if he did not mix some truth in with the falsehood, as was clear in the case of the man you saw in a seizure. Although he was confessing that there is one God, his indecent gestures and strange words showed that the devil was possessing him and dwelling in him.

Now, however, you might ask: Why do I permit the devil to lie? I answer: I have permitted and do permit this due to the sins of the people and of the priests who have wanted to know things that God did not want them to know, who desired success in areas where God saw that it was not beneficial to their salvation. Thus, it is because of sins that God permits many things to occur that would not occur if humankind had not abused grace and reason. Those prophets who longed for nothing but God and did not wish to speak God's words except for God's sake, these did not fall victims to deception but spoke and loved the words of truth.

Yet, as not all dreams should be welcomed, so not all dreams should be rejected, since God sometimes reveals good things in dreams, including the hour of their death to bad people in order that they might repent of their sins.

Sometimes he also reveals good things to good people in order that they might make greater progress toward God. So, whenever and as often as such things occur to you, do not lay them to heart but ponder them and study them with your wise spiritual friends, or else dismiss them and shut them out of your heart as if you had not seen them, because people who delight in such things are very often fooled and become disturbed. So, be firm in your faith in the Holy Trinity, love God with your whole heart, be obedient in failure as well as in success, do not think yourself better than anyone but tremble even when you do good, do not trust your own sense more than others but entrust your entire will to God, ready to do everything God wants. Then you will not need to be afraid of dreams. If they are happy dreams, do not trust or desire them without considering God's glory in them; if they are sad, do not be saddened but place yourself entirely in God's hands.”

The Mother says then: ”I am the Mother of mercy. I get the clothes ready for my daughter while she sleeps; I get food ready for my daughter while she gets dressed; I get a crown and every good reward ready for my daughter while she is working.”

The Mother's words to the Son about the bride, and Christ's answer to his Mother. Then the Mother's words about what is meant by the lion and the lamb, and about how God permits some things to happen because of human ingratitude and impatience that otherwise would not happen to them.

Book 4 - Chapter 39

The Mother speaks to her Son Jesus, saying: ”Our daughter is like a lamb that puts its head in the lion's mouth.” The Son answers her: ”It is better for the lamb to put its head in the lion's mouth and become one flesh and one blood with the lion than that the lamb should suck blood from the lion's flesh and make the lion angry and then the lamb, whose food is hay, would get sick. Yet, my dear Mother, since you bore all wisdom and the fullness of all intelligence in your womb, get her to understand the meaning of the lion and of the lamb.”

The Mother answers: ”Blessed are you, my Son, who, while remaining eternally with the Father, came down to me, yet never separating yourself from the Father. It is you who are the lion of Judah's tribe. You are the lamb without stain whom John pointed out with his finger. A person puts her head into the lion's mouth when she entrusts her whole will to God and has no intention of carrying out her own will, even if she is able, unless she knows that it is pleasing to you.

A person sucks the lion's blood when she becomes impatient with the plan of your justice, wishing and striving to obtain other things than those that you have decided for her, or when she wants to live in a state of life other than that the one that is pleasing to you and beneficial for herself. God is not pleased with such desires but rather provoked to anger. Just as the lamb feeds on hay, so too a person should be satisfied with humble conditions and a lowly state in life. It is because of human ingratitude and impatience that God allows many things to occur for the salvation of humankind that would not happen if people were more patient.
Therefore, my daughter, give your will to God. If sometimes you feel less patient, begin all over again through penance, for penance works like a good washerwoman does on stains, and contrition is like a good bleacher.”

Christ's words to the bride explaining the meaning of a Christian death and in what way a person dies well or badly, and about how the friends of God should not be troubled if they see God's servants dying a harsh bodily death.

Book 4 - Chapter 40

The Son speaks: ”Do not be afraid, daughter: This sick woman will not die, for her works are pleasing to me.” When the woman did die, the Son said again: ”Do you see, daughter? What I told you was true: The woman is not dead, for her glory is great. The separation of body and soul is for the righteous no more than a dream, for they wake up to life eternal. That which should be called death is when the soul lives separated from the body in an eternal death.

There are many people who, while not mindful of the life to come, do wish to die a Christian death. Now, what does a Christian death mean, if not to die as I died: innocently, willingly, and patiently? Am I then contemptible because my death was contemptible and harsh? Or are my chosen ones foolish, because they had to bear contemptible sufferings? Or was this the will of fortune or did the movement of the stars cause it? Of course not. I and my chosen ones did indeed suffer harshly, but in order to show by word and example that the way to heaven is difficult, and in order to make people realize fully how necessary purification is for the wicked, seeing that the innocent elect suffered so greatly.

Know, then, that a person dies a contemptible and evil death when he dies while living a dissolute life and with the intention of sinning, when he has worldly success and desires to live for a long time but does not remember to give thanks to God. A person lives and dies happily who loves God with his whole heart, though he may be struck down by a despicable death or afflicted by a chronic illness, because his harsh death lessens his sins as well as the punishment for sin and increases his reward.

Look, I will remind you of two men, both of whom died a despicable and bitter death according to human opinion. Yet, if they had not received such a death through my great mercy, they would not have been saved. However, because the Lord does not twice smite the contrite of heart, both of them attained their crown.

This is why the friends of God should not be saddened if they suffer violent temporal pain or die a bitter death. It is a blessed thing to weep for a time and to be troubled in this world so as not to come to the heaviest purgatory, where there will be no escape and no more time for working.”

The Mother's words to the daughter about how priests with lawful faculties of absolution, no matter what kind of sinners they themselves are, are able to absolve from sins; the same applies to the sacrament of the Eucharist.

Book 4 - Chapter 41

The Mother speaks: ”Go to him who has the faculty of absolution. No matter how leprous the doorkeeper is, he can still open the door as well as a healthy man, provided he has the keys. It is the same with absolution and the sacrament of the altar. No matter who the minister is, provided he has a lawful faculty of absolution, he can absolve from sins. Therefore, no priest is to be rejected.

However, I would forewarn you about two things. The first is that he will not get what he so longs for in the flesh. The other is that his life will soon be cut short. Just as an ant that carries its load of grain day and night sometimes falls down and dies right when it gets close to the nest, and the grain remains outside it, so too, right when this man has begun to reach the goal of his efforts, he will die and be punished, and his empty efforts will come to naught.”

The Mother's words to the daughter describing good character and righteous works in God's friends as door posts; and about how God's servants should stay away from disparagement.

Book 4 - Chapter 42

The Mother speaks: ”God's friends are said to be like two door posts through which others can enter. Therefore, one must guard carefully against anything rough or hard or any other kind of obstacle getting in the way of those going in. These door posts symbolize nothing other than the moral composure and righteous works and edifying words that should be found everyday in the lives of God's friends. One must therefore guard attentively against anything hard, that is, disparaging or coarse speech, being found in the mouths of God's friends, or any worldly tendencies noticeable in their actions that may cause those seeking entrance to run away and shudder to enter there.”

The Mother's words to the daughter likening bad pastors to a worm gnawing away at the roots of a tree.

Book 4 - Chapter 43

The Mother speaks: ”They are like a worm that sees excellent seed but does not care how much fruit is lost or falls off, so long as it can tear away at the roots or the parts closest to the ground. In the same way, these men do not care that souls are being lost, so long as they can get their profits and earthly possessions. The justice of my Son will therefore come upon them, and they shall soon be taken away.” She replies: ”All the time that for us seems long is no more than the least grain of the balance before God. Your Son's patience with evildoers is great indeed.” The Mother replies: ”I tell you truly: Their judgment shall not be delayed but shall come to them with horror, and they shall be dragged away from pleasure into shame.”

Christ's words to the bride likening the body to a ship and the world to the sea, and about how free will can lead souls to heaven or to hell, and the comparison of earthly beauty to a glass.

Book 4 - Chapter 44

The Son speaks: ”Listen, you who long for the harbor after the storms of this world. Whoever is at sea has nothing to fear so long as that person stays there with him who can stop the winds from blowing, who can order any bodily harm to go away and the rocky crags to soften, who can command the storm-winds to lead the ship to a restful harbor. So it is in the physical world.

There are those who lead the body like a ship across the waters of the world, bringing some people consolation but others distress, for human free will leads some souls to heaven, others to the depths of hell. The human will is pleasing to God when it desires to hear nothing more fervently than God's praise nor to live for anything other than God's service, for God dwells happily in such a will and lightens every danger and smoothes away all the crags by which the soul is often endangered.

What do these rocky crags represent if not evil desire? It is delightful to see and own worldly possessions, to rejoice in the elegance of one's body and to taste whatever delights the flesh. Such things often endanger the soul. But when God is on board the ship, all these things grow weak, and the soul scorns them all, for all bodily and earthly beauty is like a glass that is painted on the outside but full of earth on the inside. When the glass gets broken, it is no more useful than the dark soil of the earth, which has been created for no other purpose than to be used, if one owns any, in order to gain heaven. All those people who no more desire to hear of their own or the world's esteem than they do the noxious air, those who mortify every limb of their body and hate the abominable lust of their flesh, all these can rest here in quiet and wake up with joy, because God is with them at all times.”

The bride's lamentation before the divine majesty, because the four sisters, Humility, Abstinence, Contentment, and Charity, daughters of Jesus Christ the King, are now, alas, regarded as worthless, and the sisters Pride, Desire, Excess, and Simony, daughters of King Devil, are now called noblewomen.

Book 4 - Chapter 45

I make my complaint, not only on my own behalf but also on behalf of many of God's elect, before your Majesty, concerning the plight of four sisters, daughters of a mighty king, each of whom held position and power within her inherited estate. All those who wished to look on the beauty of these sisters received solace from their beauty and good example from their piety. The first sister was called Humility in managing every deed to be done. The second sister was called Abstinence from all sinful intercourse. The third sister was called Contentment without any excess. The fourth sister was called Charity regarding the affliction of one's neighbors. These four sisters are now regarded as worthless on their own inherited estate and scorned by almost everyone.

In their place four other, illegitimate sisters have been installed. Though they are the offspring of a fornicator, they are now called noblewomen. The first of these is Lady Pride, who lives to please the world. The second is called Lady Desire, who follows the body's every appetite. The third is called Lady Excess beyond the limits of necessity. The fourth is called Lady Simony, against whose deception almost nobody can protect himself, since, whether things are rightly or wrongly acquired, she greedily takes it all in. These four ladies contradict the precepts of God, wishing to render them worthless, and they are an occasion of eternal damnation to many souls.

Therefore, act in accordance with the love that God has shown you, and swiftly help to raise up the four sisters called virtues, which proceed from the very virtue of Jesus Christ the high king, and which have now been laid low in the Holy Church, the inherited estate of Christ. Lay low instead the vices that are called ladies in this world, the traitors of souls, born of that traitor the devil, vice itself.

The bride's warning to a certain nobleman about restoring unjustly acquired property, and about the voice of an angel announcing a harsh sentence against him.

Book 4 - Chapter 46

Sir, I warn you about the danger your soul is in, and remind you that we read about a certain king in the Old Testament who felt a desire for another man's vineyard and offered him the full price for it. However, since the owner did not want to sell it, the king was angered and unjustly expropriated it for himself with violence. The Holy Spirit spoke to him a little later through the mouth of a prophet, sentencing the king and queen to die a wretched death for their injustice. The prophecy was fulfilled in them, and their children had not the least benefit of the possession of that vineyard.

Now, then, since you are Christian and keep the whole faith and know with certainty that God is the same now in his power and justice as he was then, you ought to know, accordingly, that, if you have a desire to possess something unjustly, either by forcing the owner to sell it against his will or by not making a fair offer, that same powerful and just judge will be the avenger. You, moreover, should fear for such a sentence overtaking you as is said to have befallen that queen. You should sorrow that your children will not be made rich by your ill-gotten goods but will rather suffer the distress of poverty.

By the passion of Jesus Christ, who redeemed your soul with his precious blood, I exhort and admonish you not to destroy your soul for the sake of fleeting possessions but to make full restitution to all those who have suffered loss at your hands or because of you. Restore whatever you have wrongly acquired both to relieve those who now suffer sorrow and as an example for others, if you want to gain the friendship of God.

God is my witness that I do not write you this on my own, for I do not know you, but because something happened to a person that compelled me to write out of holy compassion for your soul. For that person, not asleep but awake in prayer, heard the voice of an angel saying: ”Björn, Björn, how overbold you are toward God and toward justice! Your willpower has so overcome the conscience within you that your conscience is completely silent, while your will speaks and acts. That is why you shall soon come to judgment in the divine court. Your will shall then be silent, and your conscience shall speak and condemn you in accordance with right justice.”

The Son's words to the bride about how we ought to beware of temptations from the devil, and his description of the devil as an enemy of the state, and of God as a mother hen, his power and wisdom as wings, his mercy as feathers, and the people as chickens.

Book 4 - Chapter 47

The Son speaks: ”If the enemy is battering at the city gates, you should not be like goats that run toward the wall or like rams that rear themselves up on their hind legs and butt against each other with their horns. Instead you should be like chickens that see a bird of prey in the sky aiming to harm them and take refuge beneath the wings of their mother and hide there. They are happy even if they only get hold of a single one of the mother's feathers and take cover there.

Who is your enemy if not the devil, who looks maliciously upon every good deed and is wont to batter and agitate the human mind with temptations?
Sometimes he batters it with anger and slander, sometimes with impatience and criticism toward God's decisions whenever things do not turn out as one wishes. Very often he batters and upsets you with innumerable thoughts in order to draw you away from God's service and cast a shadow over your good works before God.

Therefore, no matter what temptations you have, you should not abandon your position nor be like the goats that run up toward the wall, that is, to be hard of heart, or to criticize other people's actions in your hearts, since a person who is bad today is often good tomorrow. Rather, you should lower your horns, stand still, and listen, that is, humble yourselves and be fearful, patiently entreating God so that bad beginnings may be changed into a happy ending. Nor should you be like the rams brandishing their horns, that is, paying back insult with insult and adding taunt to taunt.

Rather you should stand steadily on your feet and remain silent, that is, check your passions, so that in your speech and responses you may show forethought and patient forcefulness, because the righteous man overcomes himself and restrains himself even from licit remarks in order to avoid loquacity and offensiveness. When a person is agitated in mind and lets go of everything he feels inside, he seems somehow to have vindicated himself and revealed the instability of his mind. This is the reason why he will be left without a reward, because he was unwilling to be patient for a time. Had he been patient, he would both have won over his offending brother and fitted himself for a greater reward.

What do the hen's wings represent if not divine power and wisdom? You see, I am like a hen that powerfully protects from the snares of the devil those chickens that run to me when I call, that is, those who desire the shade of my wings, and I summon them to salvation through my wise inspirations. What does the feather represent if not my mercy? One who obtains my mercy can feel as secure as a chicken sheltered beneath its mother's wings. So, be like the chickens running toward my will. In all temptations and adversities say both out loud and in your deeds: May God's will be done! For, I protect those who trust in me with my power; I refresh them with my mercy; I hold them with my patience; I visit them with my solace; I enlighten them with my wisdom; I reward them a hundredfold with my love.”

The Son's words to the bride about a king and how he should work to increase God's honor and love for souls, and about his sentencing, if he fails to do so.

Book 4 - Chapter 48

The Son speaks: ”If this man wishes to honor me, let him first work to reduce my dishonor and increase my honor. My dishonor consists in the contempt shown for the commandments that I have commanded and the words that I have personally spoken, which are completely disregarded by almost everyone. If he wishes to love me, then let him from now on show greater charity toward all souls for whom I opened up heaven with my heart's blood. If he longs to rest with God more than to enlarge his inheritance, then he will surely find greater desire as well as help from God in order to win back that place, Jerusalem, where my dead body lay.

Tell him, you who are hearing this: I, God, allowed him to be crowned king. This is why it is especially his duty to follow my will and to love and honor me above all things. If he fails to do so, his days will be cut short. Moreover, those people who are emotionally attached to him will be painfully separated from him, and his kingdom will be divided into several parts.”

The bride's symbolic vision of the church, its explanation, which concerns the moderation and attitude that the pope ought to maintain regarding his own person and regarding the cardinals and other prelates of Holy Mother Church, and especially about the attitude of humility.

Book 4 - Chapter 49

It seemed to a certain person that she was in a large chancel, and a great, shining sun appeared. There were two pulpits, as it were, in the chancel, one to the right and the other to the left, with a long space intervening between them and the sun. Two rays of the sun fell upon the pulpits.

Then a voice was heard from the pulpit on the left side, saying: ”Hail, eternal king, creator and redeemer, and just judge! Behold, your vicar, who is seated on your chair in the world, has now brought his chair back to its ancient and earlier place, where sat the first pope, Peter, prince of the apostles.” A voice from the pulpit on the right replied, saying: ”How can he enter into the Holy Church when the barrels of the door hinges are full of rust and dirt? This is why the doors are inclining toward the ground, because there is no room in the barrels to receive the hinge-pins that should be supporting the doors. The pins have been completely bent outward and are not at all curved in such a way as to hold the doors in place. The floor is all dug up and has been converted into pits as deep as bottomless wells. The ceiling is smeared with pitch and burning with sulphurous flames, dripping down like dense rain. Thick, black fumes arising from the pits and the dripping of the ceiling have stained all the walls and made their color as ugly to look at as gory blood and pus. It is therefore not fitting for God's friend to have his dwelling in such a temple.”

The voice from the left replied, saying: ”Give a spiritual explanation of what you have described physically.” The other voice then said: ”The pope is symbolized and represented by the doors; the barrels of the door hinges signify humility. This should be empty of all pride so that nothing is to be seen there except what pertains to the humble office of pontiff, just as the barrel should be completely empty of any rust. However, the barrels, that is, the insignia of humility, are now so full of excess and wealth and resources - kept for no other purpose than pride - that nothing seems humble, since all his humility has been converted into worldly pomp. Therefore, it is not surprising that the pope, represented by the doors, is inclining toward worldliness, as symbolized by the rust and the dirt. Accordingly, let the pope begin with true humility in himself: first of all, in his trappings - his clothes, his gold, silver, and vessels of silver, his horses and other equipment - getting rid of everything but what is necessary, and donating the rest to the poor and, especially, to those whom he knows to be friends of God.

Let him then organize his entourage with moderation and keep only those servants needed to protect him. Although it is in God's hands to call him to judgment, still it is only right for him to have servants both in order to strengthen the cause of justice and so that he can humble those who rebel against God and against the holy customs of the church.

The hinge-pins attached to the doors represent the cardinals who have been bent outward and stretched as far as possible toward all pride, greed, and physical pleasure. This is why the pope should take a hammer and tongs in hand and bend the hinges to his will by not letting them have more clothes, servants, and equipment than necessity and utility require. Let him bend them with the tongs, that is, with his soothing words and divine counsel and fatherly love. Then, if they refuse to obey, he should take the hammer and display severity toward them, doing with them whatever lies in his power and does not go against justice, until they are bent to his will.

The floor represents the bishops and the secular clergy, whose greed is bottomless. From their pride and luxurious way of living come the fumes that make all the angels in heaven and all God's friends on earth shun them.

The pope can improve the situation greatly by allowing them to have only what they need and nothing superfluous, and he should order each bishop to watch over the ways of his own clergy. Anyone who refuses to mend his ways and live continently should be stripped of his prebends, because God would rather not have a mass said in a given place than let a whorish hand touch the body of God.”

The bride's unfathomable vision of the judgment of a multitude of persons still in life, in which she heard: ”If people would rectify their sins, I, too, will lighten their sentence.”

Book 4 - Chapter 50

It seemed to me as though a king was seated on a judgment seat, and each living person stood before him. Each person had two beings standing next to him, one of whom appeared like an armed soldier, the other like a black Ethiopian. A pulpit stood before the judgment seat. On it lay a book, arranged in the same way as I saw earlier when I saw three kings standing before him. It seemed to me that the whole world was standing before the pulpit. Then I heard the judge saying to the armed soldier: ”Call those whom you have served with love!”

Those who were named fell down immediately. Some of them lay there for a longer while, others for a shorter, before their souls were separated from the body. I am unable to grasp everything I heard and saw then, for I heard the sentences of many people still living but who will soon be called. However, the following was said to me by the judge: ”If people would rectify their sins, I, too, will lighten their sentence.” Then I saw many people being sentenced, some to purgatory, others to everlasting woe.

The bride's admirable and terrible vision about a soul led before the judge, and about the arguments of God and the book's judgment against the soul and the soul's evidence against herself, and about the various astounding punishments inflicted on her in purgatory.

Book 4 - Chapter 51

It seemed that I saw a soul being led to the judge by the soldier and the Ethiopian whom I had seen earlier. It was said to me: ”What you now see all took place in regard to that soul when she was released from the body.” Once the soul had been escorted into the presence of the judge, she stood there alone, no longer in the hands of either of her escorts. She stood there naked and sorrowful, not knowing to what place she would come. It seemed to me then that every word in the book gave its own answer to each and every thing the soul was saying.

In the hearing of the judge and of the entire host, the armed soldier spoke first, saying: ”It is not right to bring up as a reproach against this soul the sins for which she has made reparation in confession.” I beheld all this but realized then quite well that the soldier who was speaking already had knowledge of everything in God but spoke so that I would understand. A reply then came from the book of justice: ”Although this soul did perform penance, it was not accompanied by a contrition or true satisfaction proportionate to her great sins. She should therefore suffer now for those sins for which she did not make reparation when she was able.”

When this was said, the soul began to weep so violently that it was as though she had broken down completely, and yet, though her tears could be seen, not a sound could be heard. Then the King said to the soul: ”Let your conscience now declare those sins that were not accompanied by a proportionate satisfaction.” Then the soul raised her voice with such force that it was as though it could be heard throughout the whole world. She said: ”Woe is me that I did not act according to God's commands, which I heard and knew!” Then she added in self-accusation: ”I did not fear God's judgment.” The book replied to her: ”You must therefore now fear the devil.” Right away the soul began to fear and tremble, as if she were melting away completely, and she said: ”I had almost no love for God: That is why I did so little good.” An immediate reply was made to her from the book: 'That is why it is just for you to approach closer to the devil than to God, because the devil lured and enticed you to himself with his temptations.”

The soul replied: ”I understand now that everything I did was done on the promptings of the devil.” A reply was made from the book: ”Justice dictates that it is the devil's right to repay your accomplishments with pain and punishment.” The soul said: ”From head to heel there was nothing I did not dress with pride. Some of my vain and proud manners I invented myself, others I just followed according to the custom of my native land. I washed my hands and face not only in order to be clean but also to be called beautiful by men.” A reply was made from the book: ”Justice says that it is the devil's right to repay you for what you have earned, since you dressed and adorned yourself as he inspired and told you to do.”

The soul said again: ”My mouth was often open for bawdy talk, because I wanted to please others, and my heart longed for all those things provided it did not result in worldly disgrace or disapproval.” A reply was made from the book: ”That is why your tongue must be drawn out and stretched and your teeth bent in. And all the things you most detest will be set before you, and all the things you like will be taken away from you.” The soul said: ”I enjoyed it immensely when many people took after my example and noticed what I did and copied my manners.” A reply was made from the book: ”Hence, it is just that everyone caught in the sin for which you are about to be punished should also suffer the same punishment and be brought to you. Then your pain will be increased each time someone comes who copied your fashions.”

After these words, it seemed to me as though a chain was wound about her head like a crown and then tightened so hard that the front and back of her head were joined together. Her eyes fell out of their sockets and dangled by their roots at her cheeks. Her hair looked like it had been scorched by flames, and her brains were shattered and flowed out through her nostrils and ears.

Her tongue was stretched out and her teeth pressed in. Her arms were twisted like ropes and their bones broke. Her hands, with their skin peeled off, were fastened to her throat. Her breast and belly were bound so hard with her back that her ribs were broken and her heart spilled out together with all her entrails; her thighs dangled at her flanks, and their broken bones were being pulled out just like a thin thread is used to thread a needle.

After this sight, the Ethiopian replied: ”O Judge, the soul's sins have now been punished according to justice. Now join the two of us, this soul and me, so that we may never be separated!” But the armed soldier replied: ”Hear, Judge, you who know all things! It concerns you now to hear the last thought and feeling that this soul had at the end of her life. At the very last moment she had the following thought: 'O, if God would only give me enough life, I would gladly make reparation for my sins and serve him all the rest of my lifetime and never more offend him.' O Judge, such were her last thoughts and wishes. Remember, too, Lord, that this person did not live long enough to acquire a fully understanding conscience. Therefore, Lord, think of her youth and treat her mercifully!”

A reply was then made from the book of justice: ”Last thoughts such as these do not deserve hell.” Then the judge said: ”Because of my passion, let heaven be opened up for this soul once she has undergone purgation for her sins for as much time as she is bound to suffer, unless she receives assistance from the good works of others still alive.”


This woman made a vow of virginity in the presence of a priest, and then married later on. She died giving birth.

The bride's terrible vision of a man and woman, and an angel's spiritual explanation to the bride concerning the amazing vision and containing many amazing points.

Book 4 - Chapter 52

There appeared to me a man whose eyes were dug out and hanging at his cheeks by their two muscles. He had the ears of a dog, the nostrils of a horse, the mouth of a ferocious wolf, hands like the feet of a big ox and feet like a vulture. I saw a woman standing at his side whose hair was like a bramble bush, whose eyes were at the back of her head, whose ears were cut off, whose nose was full of pus and gore, whose lips were like snake-fangs with a venomous barb on her tongue, whose hands were like the tail of a fox, whose feet like two scorpions.

I was awake and not sleeping while I saw all this, and I said: ”O, what is this?” Immediately a sweet-sounding voice spoke to me so comfortingly that all my fear disappeared. It said: ”You who are seeing this, what do you think it is?” I answered: ”I do not know whether the beings I see are devils or beasts born with such a bestial nature or human beings formed that way by God.” The voice then answered me: ”They are not devils, since devils do not have bodies as you see these do, nor are they a kind of beast, for they are born from Adam's stock, although they were not created in such a form by God. Rather, they appear before God made ugly in their souls by the devil. It is this that you are seeing as if in bodily fashion, but I will reveal to you the spiritual meaning of it all.

You see the eyes of that man that look as though they were dug out and hanging by their two muscles. You should understand two things by the two muscles. The first is that he believed God to live eternally. The second is that he believed that his own soul would live on eternally for good or evil after the death of the body. You should understand two things by the two eyes. The first is that he should have considered how he could have avoided sin, and the second is how he could have carried out good deeds. These two eyes have been dug out in the sense that he did not do good deeds out of a desire for heavenly glory and did not flee sin out of the fear of the punishment of Gehenna. He has dog ears, because, as a dog is not as interested in his master's name or in any other dog's name so much as its own name, If he should hear it, so too this man did not care as much about the honor of God's name as about the honor of his own name.

He has a horse's nostrils, too, for, just as when a horse has got rid of its dung, it likes to put its nose to it, so does this man. When he has committed a sin, which before God is as vile a thing as dung, it seems pleasant to him to think on its stench. He has a mouth like a ferocious wolf that, although it has filled its mouth and belly with the things it has already seen, still longs to gobble up any living creature its ears detect.

He also has hands like the feet of a strong ox. An angry ox destroys a weaker animal through the force of its wrath by trampling it down with its hooves indiscriminately, flesh and intestines and all, until the last bit of life is taken away. This man does likewise. When he is angry, he treats his enemy indiscriminately, without a thought about how the man's soul might end up in hell or how his body will suffer in death, provided that he can take the man's life away. He has feet like a vulture. When a vulture gets something it likes in its claws, it squeezes it so tightly that the strength in its feet fails due to the pain and it lets go of what it was holding without even knowing it. This man acts in the same way. He intends to keep his unjust possessions until death, but he will be forced to let go of them when his strength fails.

His wife's hair was like a bramble bush. The hair on the top of the head that adorns a person's face signifies a will that highly desires to please God the most high. That is what adorns a soul in God's sight. Because this woman's will was highly set on pleasing the world rather than God the most high, her hair looks like a bramble bush. Her eyes appear to be at the back of her head, because she turned her mind's eye away from what God's goodness had done for her in creating and redeeming her and in providing for her in her needs. Yet she gazes intently on that which is fleeting, though these things are departing from her day by day and will vanish entirely from her sight in the end. Her ears appear to be cut off in a spiritual sense, for she cares little about the doctrine of the Holy Gospel or about hearing sermons.

Her nose is full of gore, because, just as a sweet odor is pleasantly transmitted to the brain through the nose so as to comfort it, so she, too, in her passions, is delighted to put into effect whatever delights her corruptible body in order to comfort it. Her lips are like snake-fangs, and there is a venomous barb on her tongue. Even when a snake holds its teeth together tightly so as to protect its barb from being accidentally broken, the filth of its mouth still flows out through the gaps between its teeth. In the same way, she shuts her lips to true confession so as not to break the pleasure of sin, which is like the venomous barb of her soul, but the filth of her sin can still be clearly seen in the sight of God and his saints.”


”I told you before about the judgment and rejection of a marriage that they had contracted against the statutes of the church. I shall now explain it to you more fully. You saw the woman's hands were like the tails of foxes and her feet like scorpions. This is because, just as she was undisciplined in her whole body and all her passions, so too by the lightness of her hands and her way of walking she excited her husband's physical delight and stung his soul worse than any scorpion.”

At that very moment an Ethiopian appeared with trident in hand and three sharp claws on his feet. He shouted and said: ”Judge, it is my hour now. I have waited and been silent. Now is the time for action!” Immediately, I beheld a naked man and woman before the judge as he sat there together with his innumerable host.
The judge said to them: ”Though I know all things, tell us what you have done!” The man answered: ”We heard and knew about the ecclesial bond, and we paid no attention but disdained it.” The judge answered: ”Because you refused to follow the Lord, justice says you must experience the malice of the executioner.” Right then the Ethiopian thrust his claws into their hearts and pressed them together so tightly that they looked like they were in a winepress. And the judge said: ”Look, daughter, this is what people deserve when they knowingly distance themselves from their creator for the sake of creation.”

The judge spoke again to the two of them: ”I gave you a sack to fill with the fruit of my delights. What, then, do you bring me?” The woman answered: ”O judge, we sought the delights of our belly and have nothing to bring but shame.” Then the judge said to the executioner: ”Let them have their just reward!” And he immediately thrust his second claw into both their bellies and wounded them so badly that all their intestines appeared to be pierced through and through. The judge said: ”Look, daughter, this is what people deserve when they transgress the law and thirst after poison as though it were medicine.”

The judge spoke again to the two of them: ”Where is my treasure that I provided for your use?” Both of them answered: ”We trampled it underfoot, for we sought an earthly treasure and not an eternal one.” Then the judge said to the executioner: ”Let them have what you must and can give to them!” He immediately thrust his third claw into their hearts and bellies and feet in such a way that everything seemed to be like one big ball. The Ethiopian said: ”Lord, where shall I go with them?” The judge answered: ”It is not for you to rise or rejoice.” At that the man and woman disappeared with a wail from the face of the judge. The judge spoke again: ”Rejoice, daughter, because you have been kept apart from such creatures.”

The Virgin's words to the bride about how she is prepared to defend every widow and every virgin and every wife in whom she sees an upright intention and a love for her Son above all else.

Book 4 - Chapter 53

“Listen,” said God's Mother, ”you who are praying to God with your whole heart that your sons may be pleasing to him. Such a prayer truly does please God. There is not a mother who loves my Son above all else and who makes that same prayer to God for her children whom I am not at once prepared to help attain the object of her petition. Nor is there a widow who steadfastly asks for God's help to remain in the state of widowhood until her death for the glory of God whom I am not at once prepared to carry out her will along with her. I myself was like a widow in that I had a son on earth who did not have a father in the flesh. Likewise, there is no virgin yearning to preserve her virginity for God until death whom I am not prepared to defend and comfort, for I myself truly am a virgin.

You should not be wondering: Why am I saying this? It is written, you know, that David desired Saul's daughter when she was a virgin. Then he had the wife of Uriah while her husband was still alive. David's concupiscence was sinful, but the spiritual gratification of my Son, David's Lord, is free from all sin.

Accordingly, as these three states of life - virginity, widowhood, and matrimony - provided physical pleasure to David, so too it pleases my Son to keep them for his most chaste gratification in a spiritual sense. Thus, it is no wonder that I help to bring the spiritual gratification of these states of life to my Son to gratify him, for they do gratify him.”

The Mother's words to the bride about the happy spiritual birth of someone brought up in the worst kinds of sins and how it was obtained by the prayers and tears of God's servants.

Book 4 - Chapter 54

“See the son of tears who has recently been born of the world in a spiritual sense! He had been first physically born of his mother in the world. Just as when the woman who drew him forth from his mother's womb first drew out his head, then his hands, then his whole body until he fell onto the ground, I have done the same for him due to the tears and the prayers of my friends. I drew him forth from the world so that he is now spiritually like a newborn baby boy. Accordingly, he must be brought up both spiritually and bodily.

The man to whom I sent you must bring him up and protect him with his prayers and good deeds and counsels. The woman you were told about will pray for him and protect him spiritually and also attend to any bodily needs he may have, for he had fallen so deeply into mortal sins that all the devils in hell had been saying this about him: 'When he comes, let us open our mouths to crush him with our teeth and gobble him up. Let us reach out our hands to break and mangle him. Let our feet be ready to trample him down and kick him.'
This is why it was said to you that he had been born spiritually, because he has been freed from the power of the devils, as you could gather from the words you heard about how he loves God in his heart and body above all things.”

The Mother's words to the daughter about how, due to the prayers of God's servants, she wants to love a certain boy and equip him with spiritual weapons.

Book 4 - Chapter 55

“Remember what is written about Moses: The king's daughter found him on the water and loved him as her own son. It is also written in the Scholastic History that the same Moses conquered his land by means of the birds that ate up the poisonous snakes. I am a king's daughter from the family of David, and I want to love this boy whom I found on a sea-swell of tears shed for the salvation of his soul. His soul was enclosed in the ark of his body that will be brought up by those I told you about until he reaches the age in which I want to equip him and send him to gain the land of the king of heaven. How this is to come about is unknown to you but known to me. I will prepare him in such a way that it will be said of him: 'He lived like a man and died like a champion. He came to his judgment like a good soldier.' ”


God's Son speaks: ”When a starving animal is driven away from its prey, it waits at a distance until it finds an opportunity to return to the prey. But, if it finds none, it goes back to its cave. I have dealt with the leader of this country in a similar way. I admonished him through my kindnesses, I admonished him with words and blows. Yet, the more meek and mild I have shown myself to him, the more thankless and negligent he has become. I shall therefore summon him now beneath the crown and to the footstool, since he refuses to stay crowned. Upon him and his yea-sayers I shall set a cruel asp born from a viper and from a sly fox in order to molest the nation and to pluck the feathers of the simpleminded. He will ascend the heights of nations and cast off the boastful and trample them down. However, I shall lead this boy, whom my friends will foster, along another road until he arrives at a place of greater glory.”

God's Son spoke again: ”It will, moreover, be said of this boy that, because he lived like a man and fought like an outstanding soldier, he shall be crowned as a friend of God. O, daughter, what are women thinking when they glory in their sons' progress in pride?
That is not glory but shame, for they are imitating the king of pride.
Real glory is when he is a soldier of glory who glories in giving honor to God with all his might and strives for higher things and is ready to endure whatever the Lord wants him to endure. Such a man is a soldier of God and will be crowned as such together with the soldiers of heaven.”

The Mother's words to the daughter about a man not being saddened because of a correction.

Book 4 - Chapter 56

The Mother speaks: ”Why is that man upset? A father sometimes deals his son light blows with a switch. He has no reason to be sad.”

The Mother's words to the daughter about how Rome must first be cleansed of the tares with a sharp iron sickle, then with fire, then with a pair of oxen.

Book 4 - Chapter 57

The Mother speaks: ”Rome is like the field in which the tares had sprung up. It must first be cleansed with a sharp iron sickle, then purged with fire, and afterward plowed by a pair of oxen. I shall deal with you like a person transferring plants to a different place. A punishment is being prepared for this city, as if the judge were to say: 'Strip all its hide off, remove all the blood from its flesh, cut up all its meat into bits, and crush its bones so that all the marrow is drained off.' ”

Christ's figurative words to the bride, and their explanation in which Christ is described as a ruler on pilgrimage, his body as a treasure, the church as a house, priests as guardians. The true Lord has honored these priests with a sevenfold honor. Also about how God complains that wicked priests abuse him with a sevenfold abuse, and how they turn the seven vestments, which they should have, into seven vices.

Book 4 - Chapter 58

The Son speaks: ”I am like a ruler who fought faithfully in the land of his pilgrimage, and returned with joy to the land of his birth. This ruler had a very precious treasure. At its sight, the bleary-eyed became clear-sighted, the sad were consoled, the sick regained their strength, the dead were raised. For the purpose of the safe and honest protection of this treasure, a splendid and magnificent house of suitable height was built and finished with seven steps leading up to it and the treasure. The ruler entrusted the treasure to his servants for them to watch over, manage, and protect faithfully and purely.
This was in order that the ruler's love for his servants might be shown and that the servants' faithfulness toward the ruler might be seen.

As time went on, the treasure began to be despised and its house rarely visited, while the guardians grew lukewarm, and the love of the ruler was neglected. Then the ruler consulted his intimate advisers concerning what was to be done about such ingratitude, and one of them said in answer: 'It is written that the neglectful judges and guardians of the people were ordered to be hanged in the sun. However, mercy and judgment are your nature; you are lenient toward all, for all things are yours and you are merciful toward all.'

I am the ruler in the parable. I appeared like a pilgrim on earth by virtue of my humanity, although I was mighty in heaven and on earth by virtue of my divinity. I fought so hard on earth that all the muscles of my hands and feet were ruptured out of zeal for the salvation of souls. As I was about to leave the world and ascend into heaven, I left it a most worthy memorial, my most holy body, in order that, in the same way that the Old Law could glory in the ark, the manna, and the tablets of the covenant, and in other ceremonies, so the new man could rejoice in the New Law - not, as before, in a shadow but in the truth, indeed, in my crucified body that had been foreshadowed in the law. In order that my body might be given honor and glory, I established the house of the Holy Church, where it was to be kept and preserved, as well as priests to be its special guardians, who in a certain way are above the angels by reason of their ministry. The one whom angels fear to touch due to a reverent fear, priests handle with their hands and mouth.

I honored the priests with a sevenfold honor, as it were, on seven steps.
On the first step, they should be my standard-bearers and special friends by reason of the purity of their mind and body, for purity is the first position near to God, whom nothing foul can touch nor adorn. It was not strange that marital relation was permitted to the priests of the law during the time in which they were not offering sacrifice, for they were carrying the shell, not the nut itself. Now, however, with the coming of the truth and the disappearance of the figure, one must strive all the more fully for purity by as much as the nut is sweeter than the shell. As a sign of this kind of continence, first the hair is tonsured, so that desire for pleasure does not rule over spirit or flesh. On the second step, the clerics are ordained in order that they may become angelic men in all humility, for heaven is attained and the devil's pride is overcome through humility of mind and body. As a sign of such a step, the clerics are authorized to cast out demons, for the humble man is raised up to heaven from where the lofty devil fell through his pride.

On the third step the clerics are ordained for the purpose of being disciples of God through the constant reading of Holy Scripture. For this reason, a book is placed in their hands by the bishops, just as a sword is given to a knight, so that they understand what they must do and strive through prayer and meditation to placate God's anger for the sake of the people of God. On the fourth step the clerics are ordained as guardians of God's temple and watchmen of souls. For this reason, the bishops give them keys in order that they may be deeply concerned for the salvation of their brethren and encourage them by word and deed and incite the weak to greater perfection.

On the fifth step, they are ordained as stewards and caretakers of the altars and scorners of worldly things in order that they may serve at the altar, live by the altar, and occupy themselves with earthly matters only insofar as befits their position. On the sixth step, they are ordained to be apostolic men who preach the gospel truth and make their conduct fit their preaching. On the seventh step, they are ordained to be mediators between God and man through the sacrifice of my body. In some way, at this point, priests rank above the angels in dignity.

My grievance now, however, is that these steps have fallen apart. Pride is loved more than humility, impurity is practiced instead of purity, the divine lessons are not read but the book of the world, negligence is to be seen at the altars, God's wisdom is regarded as foolishness, the salvation of souls is not a concern. As if this were not enough, they even throw away my vestments and scorn my weapons. On the mountain, I showed Moses the vestments that the priests of the law were to use. It is not as though there were anything material in God's heavenly dwelling, but it is because spiritual things cannot be understood except by means of physical symbols. Thus, I revealed a spiritual truth by means of something physical in order that people might realize how much reverence and purity are needful for those who have the truth itself - my body - given that those who were wearing but a shadow and a figure had so much purity and reverence.

Why did I reveal such magnificence in material vestments to Moses? It was, of course, in order to use them to teach and symbolize the magnificence and beauty of the soul. As the vestments of the priests were seven in number, so too the soul that approaches the body of God should have seven virtues without which there is no salvation. The first vestment of the soul, then, is contrition and confession. These cover the head. The second is desire for God and desire for chastity. The third is work in honor of God as well as patience in adversity. The fourth is caring neither for human praise nor reproach but for the honor of God alone. The fifth is abstinence of the flesh along with true humility. The sixth is consideration of the favors of God as well as fear of his judgments. The seventh is love of God above all things and perseverance in good undertakings.

These vestments, however, have been changed and are now despised. People love to make excuses and smooth over their guilt instead of going to confession. They love constant lewdness instead of chastity. They love work for the benefit of the body instead of work for the salvation of the soul. They love worldly ambition and pride instead of the honor and love of God. They love all kinds of redundancy instead of praiseworthy thrift, presumption and criticizing God's judgments instead of the fear of God, and the clergy's thanklessness toward everyone instead of God's love toward all. Therefore, as I said through the prophet, I shall come in indignation, and tribulation shall give them understanding.”

Then the Mother of Mercy, being present, replied: ”Blessed are you, my son, for your justice. I am speaking to you who know all things for the sake of this bride. You want her to understand spiritual truths, but she is unable to grasp the spiritual meaning except by means of images. Before you received a human nature from me, you once spoke as God, saying that if ten righteous men could be found in the city, you would be willing to show mercy to the whole city for the sake of those ten. There still are countless priests who placate you with the offering of your body. Therefore, because of these priests, have mercy on those who have little good in them. This I beg, I who gave birth to you in your human nature. All your elect ask this together with me.”

The Son answered: ”Blessed are you and blessed is the word of your mouth! You see that I pardon in three ways because of the threefold good in the offering of my body. Three good things were revealed in me through the effrontery of Judas. In the same way three good things come to souls through the offering of this sacrifice. First, my patience is to be praised because, though I knew who my betrayer was, I did not reject his company. Second, my power was revealed when, in the presence of my betrayer, all those who were with him fell to the ground at a single word of mine. Third, the divine wisdom and love were manifested, since I transformed all the wickedness of Judas and the devil into salvation for souls.

Similarly, three good things come from the offering of the priests. First, my patience is praised by all the heavenly host because I remain the same in the hands of good as well as of bad priests, and because there is no partiality in me, and because this sacrament is brought about not by human merits but by my words. Second, this offering benefits everybody, no matter which priest offers it. Third, it benefits those who offer it as well, however bad they may be. Just as the single phrase 'I am' made my enemies collapse physically on the ground, so too when my words 'This is my body' are spoken, the devils flee from tempting the souls of the ministers, and they would not dare to return to them with such audacity, if the desire to sin was not there.

So my mercy shows pardon to them all and endures them all. However, my justice calls for retribution, for I cry out each day and you see well enough how many answer me. Nevertheless, I will still send out the words of my mouth. Those who listen will complete the days of their lives in that joy that can neither be expressed nor imagined because of its sweetness. To those, however, who do not listen, there will come, as it is written, seven plagues in the soul and seven plagues in the body. They will find this out, if they think and read about what has been done. Otherwise, they will quake and quail when they do experience it.”

Christ's words to the bride about how three duties belong to the priest: first, to consecrate the body of Christ; second, to have purity of body and spirit; third, to care for his congregation. Also about how he should have a book and oil; and about how a priest is an angel of the Lord, because his office is greater than that of an angel.

Book 4 - Chapter 59

The Son speaks: ”Three duties belong to a priest: first, to consecrate the body of God; second, to have purity of body and spirit; third, to care for his congregation. But, you may ask: 'What good does it do to have a church if he does not have a congregation?' I answer you: A priest who has the intention of doing good to everyone and of preaching for the love of God has as large a congregation as if he had the whole world, since, if he could speak to the whole world, he would spare no efforts. His good intention is thus reckoned to him as deeds. In fact, on account of the ingratitude of the listeners, God often spares his chosen ones the effort of preaching, but they are not robbed of their reward due to their good disposition.

The priest should also have a book and oil. The book is for the instruction of those who are imperfect, the holy oil is for the anointing of the sick. Just as a book contains spiritual and physical learning, so too the priest should have knowledge about disciplining his body so that it is not ruined through lack of temperance, which would give scandal to the parishioners. He should know how to flee from greed, which debases the beauty of the church, and how to avoid worldly ways, which dishonor the dignity of the clergy. Spiritual knowledge involves instructing the ignorant, correcting the dissolute, urging on the proficient. The oil symbolizes the sweetness of prayer and good example. As oil has a richer taste than bread, so loving prayer and the example of a good life are more effective in attracting people and have a richer taste in order to placate God.

I tell you truly, my daughter, it is a great thing to be called a priest. An angel of the Lord is also a mediator, but the priest's office is greater, for he touches the unfathomable God, and in his hands the lowest things are joined to the things of heaven.”

The bride's words to God about a pleasing way of praying in God's sight.

Book 4 - Chapter 60

“Blessed be you, my Creator and Redeemer. Do not be angry if I speak to you as a wounded patient to the doctor, as a troubled soul to the comforter, as a poor person to a rich and generous one. You see, the wounded patient says: 'O, doctor, please do not shrink from my pain, for you are my brother!' The troubled soul says: 'O, greatest of comforters, please do not despise me because I am fraught with anxiety, but grant rest to my heart and ease my mind!' The poor person says: 'O, you who are rich and lack nothing, look at me, for I am perilously hungry. See my nakedness, and give me clothing to keep me warm!'

In the same way I say now: O Lord, almighty and most high, I look upon the wounds of my sins that have wounded me from infancy and I sigh, because my time has been spent uselessly. My strength is not up to the task, for it has been wasted in vanities. And so, as you are the source of all goodness and mercy, I beseech you: Have mercy on me; touch my heart with your loving hand, for you are the best of doctors; comfort my soul, for you are the good comforter!”

About how the devil appeared to the bride during the elevation of the body of Christ, speaking to her and trying to prove by argument that what was being elevated was not the body of Christ. An angel of the Lord appeared to her right away to comfort her and tell her not to trust the devil. Also, about how Christ appears and forces the devil to tell her the truth, and about how the body of Christ is received by the wicked as well as the good, and concerning the proper remedy in temptations regarding the body of Christ.

Book 4 - Chapter 61

A monstruous creature appeared to the bride at the elevation of the body of Christ and said: ”Do you really believe, silly woman, that this wafer of bread is God? Even if he had been the highest of mountains, he would have been consumed long ago. None of the wise Jews to whom God has given wisdom believes this, nor can anyone believe that God would allow himself to be touched and loved by a most impure priest with the heart of a dog. If you would ascertain the truth of what I say, well, this priest is mine and whenever I want - and he is at the point of it now - I will snatch him away to myself.”

Right then, a good angel appeared and said: ”O, daughter, answer not a fool according to his folly! It is the father of lies who has appeared to you. But get ready, for our bridegroom is now near.” Jesus the Bridegroom came and said to the devil: ”Why are you troubling my daughter and bride? I call her daughter, because I created her, and I call her bride, because I redeemed her and have joined her to myself through my love.” The devil answered: ”I am speaking to her so that she will grow cold in your service, because I have been given permission.”

The Lord said: ”She experienced that last night when you pressed down on her eyes and the rest of her body and would have done worse, if you had been allowed. Instead, each time she resists your intrusions, her rewards will be doubled. However, devil, as you were saying that I would have been consumed long ago, answer me while she is listening with her physical sense of hearing. Scripture says that, when the people were perishing, a bronze serpent was raised up and everyone who had been bitten was cured upon looking at it. Tell me whether this curative force came from the power of the bronze or the kind of snake or the virtue of Moses or was it a divine and hidden force?” The devil answered: ”The curative force came from nothing other than God's own power and from the faith of a believing and obedient people who believed that God, having made all things out of nothing, was also able to do all sorts of things that had never been done before.”

God said again: ”Tell me, devil, whether the staff was made into a serpent because Moses accomplished it or was it because God commanded it?
Was it because Moses was holy or was it because God's word said so?” The devil said to him: ”What was Moses but a human being weak in himself whom God had made righteous? At his word, because God commanded and allowed it, the staff became a serpent, inasmuch as God truly commanded it and Moses was his compliant servant. Prior to God's command and word, the staff remained a staff. When the true God ordered it, the staff truly became a serpent, so much so that even Moses was frightened.”

Then the Lord said to the bride who was watching all this: ”This is what is now taking place on the altar. Prior to the sacramental words, the bread on the altar is bread. When the words 'This is my body' are spoken, the bread becomes the body of Christ that people receive, both the good and the wicked, one person as much as one thousand, according to the same truth but not with the same effect, for the good receive it unto life, while the wicked receive it unto judgment. What the devil said about God being defiled by the impurity of the offering minister is most truly false. It is as though a servant that is a leper were to deliver keys to his master, or if a sick person were to offer medicinal mixtures made from potent herbs, their condition would present no obstacle to the recipient of the service, inasmuch as the objects have the same power in themselves, no matter who brings them. Accordingly, God is not made bad because of the badness of a bad minister nor better because of a good minister, for God is always unchangeable and always the same. The devil spoke truly about this man being about to die soon, though he knew this by means of his natural cunning and through external causes, but he will not be able to snatch him away without my permission.

This priest does belong to him, however, unless he reforms himself. There are three reasons for this. The devil said as much when he said that he had stinking limbs and the heart of a dog. He really does stink and is sick with fever, for he has outer warmth but inner coldness, unbearable thirst, slackness of limb, a loathing for bread and a repugnance of every sweetness. He is indeed warm toward the world and cold toward God. He thirsts for carnal pleasure but has a repugnance to the beauty of virtue. He has no taste for God's commands but is full of fervor for everything carnal. It is therefore not strange that my body holds no other taste for him than that of bread baked in an oven, because he does not meditate on or have any taste for spiritual work, but only for that of the flesh.

Once the Agnus Dei has been said, and my body has been received into his body, the Father's power leaves him and the Son's sweet presence disappears. Once he has taken off the sacred vestments, he no longer has the favor of the Holy Spirit, who is the bond of unity. Only the form and memory of bread remain for him. However, you should not think that he or any other person is without God, however wicked he or she may be. God leaves him in the sense of not giving him greater consolation, but he remains with him by showing him tolerance and defending him against the devil.

Concerning what the devil said about how none of the wise Jews are willing to believe in this, my answer is: The disposition of these Jews is as though they had lost their right eyes. They limp along on both their spiritual feet and are therefore void of wisdom and will remain so till the end. Thus, it is not strange that the devil blinds and hardens their hearts and induces them to shamelessness and to actions that go against faith. Therefore, whenever any such thought regarding the body of Christ occurs to your mind, have recourse to your spiritual friends and stand firm in the faith, because you may be completely certain that the body that I assumed from the flesh of the Virgin, which was crucified and now reigns in heaven, this very same body is on the altar, and that both the good and the wicked receive it.

Just as I showed myself in a different shape to the disciples on the way to Emmaus, and though I was true God and true man when I came to the disciples through locked doors, so too I show myself beneath a different shape by means of priests so that faith may have its reward and human ingratitude may be revealed. That is no wonder: I am still the same now as when I revealed the power of my divinity by means of fearful signs and portents, and yet the people said at the time, ”Let us make gods who can precede us.” I also revealed my humanity to the Jews, and they crucified it. I am the same each day on the altar, and they say: 'We are disgusted and solely tried by this food.

What greater ingratitude can there be than to try to comprehend God with one's reason and dare to judge the secret counsels and mysteries in God's own power and possession? Hence, by means of an invisible effect and a visible form, I wish to reveal to the unlearned and humble what the visible form of bread is without the substance of bread, what substance is in its form, what division in form is without substance, and why I endure such indignities and outrages upon my body. It is in order that the humble may be exalted and the proud be put to shame.”

In the bride's presence, the Lord chides a priest who is burying a person who had died in patient suffering. About how Christ will come to wicked priests with seven spiritual plagues and seven bodily ones, and about how that soul obtained heavenly glory for the sake of her patient suffering and other merits.

Book 4 - Chapter 62

When a certain priest was burying a person who had been sick in bed for three and a half years, the bride heard the Spirit saying: ”My friend, what are you doing? Why do you presume to touch the dead with your bloodied hands? Why do you make loud appeals to the Almighty for this man's sake with a froglike voice? How do you presume to appease the Judge for his sake when your own morals and manners are more like a jester's than those of a devout priest? It is the power of my words and not your doing that will profit the dead man. It is his faith and long-suffering that will bring him to his reward.”

The Spirit then said to the bride: ”This man's hands are bloodied in the sense that all his deeds are of a sensual nature. His hands are not worthy to touch the dead man in the sense that he is of no help to him by reason of his own worth but only through the nobleness of the sacrament. Good priests benefit souls especially in two ways: first, through the power of the Lord's body and, second, through the love that burns in them. His voice is like that of frogs in the sense that it is full of dirty deeds and sensual pleasure. His moral behavior is like that of a jester. What else does a jester do but conform himself to worldly morality? What other tune does he sing but 'Let us eat and drink and enjoy life's pleasures'? That is how this man acts. He conforms himself to everyone else in his dress and behavior in order to please them. He incites them all to excess by his own example and extravagance, saying: 'Let us eat and drink, for the joy of the Lord is our strength. It is enough for us to reach the gates of glory. Even if I am not allowed to enter, it is enough for me to sit outside the gates. I have no wish to be perfect.'

This manner of voice and living is indeed serious. No one shall reach the gates of glory but the perfect or those who have been perfectly purified. No one shall possess my glory but those who perfectly desire it and perfectly struggle to attain it while they can. Yet I, the Lord of the universe, enter into this priest, though without being either enclosed or defiled. I enter as a bridegroom, I leave as the future judge, scorned by the receiver. I will, therefore, as I have said, come to priests, bringing seven plagues. They shall be deprived of everything they held dear. They shall be cast out of God's sight and sentenced in his wrath.
They shall be handed over to demons to suffer without rest, scorned by all, lacking all good things and abounding in every evil.

They will likewise be scourged by seven bodily ills, as Israel was. Hence, you should not wonder when I am tolerant with the wicked or when any irreverence is shown to my sacrament. I endure it until the end in order to reveal my patience as well as human ingratitude. Nor should you worry when offenses are committed against my body, such as when you heard about its being spat out. The sensible species show their deficiency as is proper to them, and yet, being transparent, they reveal human ingratitude and show people to be culpable and unworthy to receive holy communion.”
The Spirit spoke again to the soul of the dead man: ”O, soul, rejoice and exult, because your faith has separated you from the devil. Your simplicity has shortened for you the way through purgatory. Your patience has brought you to the gates of glory where my mercy will lead you in and crown you.”

How the devil appeared to the bride with the intention of deceiving her through specious arguments in regard to the sacrament of the body of Christ, and about how Christ came to her assistance and forced the devil to tell her the truth, and about the assurance and beneficial instruction Christ gives to the bride concerning his glorious body in the sacrament.

Book 4 - Chapter 63

A demon with an enormous belly appeared to the bride and said: ”Woman, what do you believe? What great things are you thinking about? I, too, know many things and want to prove what I say with clear reasoning, but I would advise you to stop thinking about unbelievable things and to trust your senses. Do you not see with your eyes and hear with the ears of your body the sound of the breaking of the material bread of the host? You have seen it being spat out, touched, shamefully thrown on the ground, and suffering many other indignities that I would never allow to be done to me. Even if it is possible for God to be in the mouth of the righteous, how can he stoop to come to the unrighteous whose greed is without limit or measure?”

She turned to Christ who had appeared in human form immediately after the temptations. She said: ”O Lord Jesus Christ, I thank you for all things and especially for these three. First, that you clothe my soul with the inspiration of penance and contrition by which every sin is washed away, no matter how serious. Second, that you feed my soul with the infusion of your charity and the memory of your passion by which the soul is refreshed as though with the best of foods. Third, that you console all those who invoke you in the midst of hardship. Therefore, Lord, have mercy on me and strengthen my faith, for, although I deserve to be handed over to the deceits of the devil, still I believe that he can do nothing without your permission and that your permission is never given without consolation.”

Then Christ said to the devil: ”Why are you speaking to my new bride?” The devil answered: ”Because she is tied to me, and I still hope to ensnare her in my snares. She is tied to me when, by consenting to me, she has sought to please and has pleased me more than you, her Creator. I have watched her ways, and they have not yet escaped my memory.” The Lord answered: ”Are you a negotiator, then, and a spy of every highway? The devil answered: ”Yes, I am a spy but in darkness. You made me dark.” The Lord asked: ”When were you able to see and how did you become dark?”

The demon said, ”I could see when you created me most beautiful, but, because I rashly thrust myself upon your splendor, it blinded me like the basilisk. I could see you when I desired your beauty. I could see you and knew you in my conscience when you rejected me. I also recognized you in your assumed flesh, and I did what you give me permission to do. I recognized you when you robbed me of your captives. Every day I recognize the power by which you mock and shame me.”

The Lord said: ”If you know and understand the truth about me, why do you lie to my chosen ones, when you realize the truth about me? Did I not say that he who eats my flesh shall have eternal life? And you say that it is a lie and that no one eats my flesh. Hence, my people are more idolatrous than those who worship stones and trees. Although I know all things, yet answer me while this woman here is listening, for she is unable to understand spiritual truths except by means of images. Was my body that Thomas touched after my resurrection a spiritual or corporeal body? If it was corporeal, how did it pass through the locked doors? But, if it was spiritual, how was it visible to corporeal eyes?”

The devil answered: ”It is hard to speak when the speaker is held in suspicion by everyone and he is unwillingly compelled to speak the truth.
However, seeing that I am compelled, I state that you were both corporeal and spiritual after rising from the dead. It is because of the eternal power of your divinity and because of a special privilege of your glorified flesh that you can enter anywhere and be present everywhere.” The Lord said further: ”Tell me, when Moses' staff was turned into a serpent, was it only the image of a serpent or was it completely a serpent both inside and outside? And tell me again, the leftover bread in those baskets, was it really and wholly bread or just the image of bread?” The devil answered: ”The entire staff became a serpent, what was in the baskets was entirely bread, and it was entirely done by your power and might.”

The Lord said: ”Is it more difficult or more miraculous for me to perform a similar miracle now than it was then, if I please? Or, if my glorified flesh could pass through the locked doors then, why can it not be in the hands of the priests now? Does it, perhaps, entail an effort for my divinity to unite that which is least with that which is heavenly, the earthly with the most sublime? Certainly not. But, father of lies, just as you excel in wickedness, so too my love is and always shall be upon all creatures. Even if one person should seem to burn the sacrament with fire, or another to trample it underfoot, I alone know the faith of all and arrange everything in due measure and patience. I create something out of nothing and a visible thing out of an invisible one. I can reveal something through a visible sign and shape that, however, truly is one thing in what is signified, yet is seen as something else.”

The devil answered: ”I experience the truth of this everyday when people who are my friends depart from me to become your friends. But what more shall I say? The slave left to himself shows well enough by his will what he would carry out in act if allowed.” Then the Son of God spoke once more: ”My daughter, believe that I am Christ, the restorer of life and not the betrayer, the true one, the very truth itself and not a liar, the eternal power without which nothing ever was or shall be. If you believe that I am in the hands of the priest, even if the priest doubts it, then I am truly in his hands due to the faith of the believers and those present, as well as due to the words that I myself established and uttered. Everyone who receives me receives both my divine and human natures as well as the form of bread.

What is God if not life and sweetness, illuminating light, delightful goodness, judicious justice, saving mercy? What is my humanity if not an active body, the conjunction of God and man, the head of all Christians?
Therefore, those who believe in God and receive his body receive the divine nature as well, for they receive life. They also receive the human nature by which God and man are joined. Again, they receive the form of bread, because the One who is hidden as to his own form is received beneath a different form as a test of faith. Likewise, wicked persons also receive the same divinity but as a stern judge rather than an affectionate friend. They receive his human nature as well, though less easily appeased. They also receive the form of bread, for they receive the truth hidden beneath the visible form, but it is not sweet to them.

Once they put me in their mouths and chew, the sacrament is fulfilled, but I depart from them with my divinity and humanity, and only the form of bread remains for them. It is not that I am not truly present in the wicked as well as in the good due to the institution of the sacrament, but that the effect is not the same for the good as for the wicked. Life itself, God, is offered to man in this sacrifice. So, life enters into the wicked but does not remain with them, because they do not give up their wickedness. Thus, only the form of bread remains there for their senses to perceive. Yet, this is not because the bread's form behind the bread's substance has any effect upon them, but because they think no more of what they have received than what they see and perceive of the form of bread and wine. It is as if a mighty lord were to enter someone's house and his appearance were to be noticed but the presence of his goodness ignored.”

The Mother's words to the daughter comparing her Son to a poor peasant, and about how troubles and persecutions occur to good and bad alike, though they lead the good by patience toward purification and reward.

Book 4 - Chapter 64

The Mother speaks: ”My Son is like a poor peasant who has neither ox nor donkey but instead carries the wood himself from the forest as well as the other tools needed to complete his work. Among his tools, he carries birch-rods. He needs these for two reasons: in order to flog disobedient children and to create warmth for cold people. My Son, the Lord and Creator of the universe, made himself most poor in order to so enrich everyone not with fleeting but with eternal riches. Carrying on his back the heavy weight of the bitter cross, he cleansed and obliterated everyone's sins with his blood. Among his various works, he selected tools of virtue, that is, virtuous persons through whom the hearts of many have been inflamed with the love of God through the operation of the Spirit of God, thus making the path of truth known.

He also selected birch-rods, which stand for the lovers of this world, through whom the children and friends of God are flogged for their own improvement and purification and for their greater precaution and reward. The rods also warm the cold children, and even God grows warm by their fire. How does this happen? Well, when the worldly cause trouble for God's friends as well as for those who almost only love God out of fear, these turn in their troubles to God with greater fervor, considering the emptiness of the world. Then God has compassion on their troubles and gives them encouragement and love.

But what will become of the rods once the children have been flogged? They will surely be cast into the burning fire. God certainly does not scorn his own people when he delivers them into the hands of the impious. Rather, he is like a father who raises his children and makes use in this way of the wickedness of the impious as a means to their reward.”

The Mother's admonishment to her daughter with a simile to show how God's friends should not weary of nor leave off their work of preaching; also, about the great reward for such preachers.

Book 4 - Chapter 65

The Mother speaks: ”You ought to be like an empty vessel ready to be filled, neither so wide that it cannot hold what is poured into it, nor so deep that it lacks a bottom. This vessel is your body, which is empty when it is a stranger to desire. It has the proper width when the flesh is prudently disciplined so that the soul is able to understand spiritual things and the body is strong enough to work. The vessel is bottomless when the flesh is not restrained by any form of abstinence and the body is not denied whatever the mind desires.

Now listen to what I have to say: My servant uttered an unfeathered word when he said: 'What is it to me to be speaking about things that do not have to do with my state in life?' Words like that are not fitting for a servant of God. Anyone who hears and knows the truth and is silent about it is liable to punishment, if not to being completely rejected.

A certain ruler had a strong castle in which there were four good things: undecaying food that chased away all hunger, healthy water that quenched every thirst, a sweet-smelling fragrance that drove away all poisonous vapors, indispensable weapons to weaken every foe. While the ruler was attending to other matters, the castle was at last beseiged. When the ruler found out, he said to his herald: 'Go and proclaim the following with a loud voice to my soldiers: I, your ruler, shall free my castle. Anyone who follows me with a good will shall be with me in my glory and receive similar honor. If anyone falls in battle, I will raise him up to a life without need or anxiety. I shall give him lasting honor and unfailing plenty.' The servant received his orders and made the proclamation, but he was not careful enough in doing so and the proclamation did not reach the ears of the most valiant soldier. So this soldier kept away from the battle.
What will the ruler do to this soldier who would gladly have fought but who did not hear the words of the herald? Indeed, he will be rewarded for the sake of his good will, but the negligent herald will not be exempt from punishment.

This castle is the Holy Church founded through the blood of my Son. In the church is his body that chases away all hunger. In it is the water of gospel wisdom, the fragrance of saintly example, and the weapons of his passion. This castle is now beset by enemies, for many are to be found in the Holy Church who preach my Son with their voices but do not agree with him in their conduct. What they speak with their voices, they contradict in their intentions, for they do not care about their heavenly homeland but only want to gain their own pleasure. Accordingly, in order that the enemies of God may decrease in number, the friends of God should be unflagging in their efforts, for their reward will not be a temporal one but the kind knowing no end.”

The Mother's words to the daughter about how the prudent possession of temporal goods does no harm, provided that the desire to possess them is not disordered.

Book 4 - Chapter 66

The Mother speaks: ”What harm does it do if someone's clothes get poked by a needle or a bit of iron so long as the skin is not injured? In the same way, a prudent possession of temporal goods does no harm, provided that the desire to possess them is not disordered. Therefore, examine your heart to ensure that your intention is good, because the words of God must be spread to others through you.

As the sluice gate of a water-mill blocks the water and then lets it flow whenever necessary, so too you must carefully examine the various thoughts and temptations occurring to you in order to get rid of vain and worldly ideas, while keeping continously in mind divine ones. It is written, you know, that the lower waters flowed downward but the upper waters stood like a wall.

The lower waters stand for carnal thoughts and useless desires. These should just flow off without attracting any attention. The upper waters stand for the inspirations of God and the words of the saints. These should remain in your heart like steadfast walls that no temptations can batter away from your heart.”

Christ's words to the bride disclosing his magnificence, and about how all things proceed according to his designs, with the exception of sinners' wretched souls. Figurative examples are given concerning all this. Also, about how the will must be guarded in one's actions.

Book 4 - Chapter 67

The Son speaks to the bride: ”I am one God together with the Father and the Holy Spirit. All things were foreseen and established by my divine providence from the beginning and before the ages. All things, bodily as well as spiritual, have a certain plan and order, and they exist and move along according as my foreknowledge has ordained and foreknown. Three examples will help you to understand this. First, you can understand it from living things as well as from the fact that the woman and not the man gives birth.

Second, it can be seen from the fact that sweet trees bear sweet fruit, while bitter trees bear bitter fruit. Third, it can be seen from the stars, that is, that the sun and moon and all the heavenly bodies complete their course as predetermined in my divinity. Rational souls are also foreknown in my divinity. I know beforehand what they will become, but my foreknowledge is in no way an obstacle or hindrance to them, for I have given them free voluntary motion, that is, free will and the power to choose whatever they like.

Consequently, as the woman and not the man gives birth, so too the good soul, God's wife, should give birth with God's help, for the soul was created in order to advance in virtue and grow fruitful through the seed of the virtues, so that she may be clasped in the arms of divine love. The soul that falls away from her original excellence and from her Creator acts contrary to God's plans and is therefore unworthy of God's sweetness.

Second, God's unchanging plan appears in trees, because sweet trees bear sweet fruit and bitter trees the opposite. A date has both a sweet pulp and a hard stone. Similarly, it has been foreseen from all eternity that wherever the Holy Spirit dwells, there all worldly delight turns vile, and all worldly honor becomes burdensome. In such a heart, however, there is so much strength and hardiness from the Holy Spirit that it is not cast down by any adversity nor overly elated by any success. It has been similiarly foreseen from all eternity that wherever the devil's briar is, the fruit will be red on the outside but all unclean and full of prickles on the inside. Thus, while there is momentary and apparent sweetness in the devil's delight, it is full of thorns and tribulations, because the more someone gets entangled in the world, the more heavily that person is weighed down by the burden of the account to be rendered. And so, just as every tree produces its fruit according to the kind of roots and trunk it has, so too every person is judged according to the intention behind his or her deeds.

In the third place, all the elements keep to their own order and motion, as foreseen from eternity, and move according to the will of their Maker. Likewise, every rational creature should move and prepare itself according to the order established by the Creator. When a rational creature does the opposite, it is obvious that it is abusing its freedom of choice. So, while irrational creatures keep to their limits, rational human beings debase their original excellence and render their sentence heavier by not making use of their reason.

Thus, the human will must be guarded. I do no more injury to the devil than to my angels. As God requires that chaste, indescribable sweetness from his bride, so the devil looks for thorns and prickles from his bride. Yet, the devil can in no way prevail, unless the power of the will has been corrupted.”

The Mother's words to her daughter about a fox, and about how the devil is like a fox, and about how the devil, like a clever fox, deceives people with many and varied temptations, and tries all he can to deceive all those whom he sees making progress in virtue.

Book 4 - Chapter 68

The Mother speaks: ”The small animal called a fox is very diligent and clever in getting everything it needs. Sometimes it pretends to be asleep or even dead so that the birds lose their caution and perch right on top of it, and the fox can then easily catch and devour the birds so uncautious as to perch there. It watches how the birds fly, and snatches and devours any it sees resting from their fatigue on the ground or under a tree. However, the birds that fly with both their wings confuse and frustrate him in his efforts.

This fox represents the devil. He is always following God's friends and especially those who lack his malicious bile and wicked venom. He pretends to be asleep and dead in the sense that he sometimes leaves a person free from more serious temptations so as to deceive and ensnare him unawares more easily in small ones. Sometimes he even makes vice seem like virtue and virtue like vice, in order that a person gets caught and falls into a hole and comes to ruin, unless prudence comes to his aid. An example will help you to understand this.

Sometimes mercy can be a vice, namely, when it is practiced merely to please people. Rigorous justice can be injustice, when it is exercised because of greed or impatience. Humility can be pride, when one makes a display of it in order to attract attention. Patience seems to be a virtue but is not in a situation where one would seek revenge if one could, but must endure an offense simply because there is no opportunity for revenge. Sometimes the devil also submits people to trials and tribulations in order to break them through excessive sadness. Sometimes, too, the devil fills people's hearts with anxiety and worry so as to make them become lukewarm in God's service or, when they are careless in small respects, to make them fall in greater ones.

It was in this way that the person of whom I am speaking was tricked by the fox. When he reached old age and had everything he wanted, and declared himself to be happy and to wish to go on living, he was then snatched away without the sacraments and without atoning for his life and deeds. Like an ant, he used to gather his stores night and day, though not in the storehouse of the Lord. But, when he had reached the entrance of the anthill where he was bringing his grain, he died and left his work for others. He who does not fruitfully gather in the time of harvest will not have the enjoyment of the corn.
Happy are those birds of the Lord that do not sleep beneath the trees of worldly delights but in the trees of heavenly desires. If ever a temptation of that wicked fox, the devil, lays hold of them, they quickly fly away on the wings of humble confession and the hope of heavenly assistence.”


Christ, the Son of God, speaks: ”This provost is material for the episcopate. Whoever wants to climb the tree of sweet fruit should be free from every burden, girded and ready for gathering, having a clean vessel in which to put the fruit. Let this man seek eagerly now to decorate his body with virtues. He should supply it with the necessities but not the superfluities of life. He should flee the occasions of incontinence and greed and show himself to be a clean mirror and an example for imperfect men. Otherwise a horrible fall will come upon him, a sudden end by the stroke of my hand.”
All this came to pass.

Christ's words to the bride comparing the good conduct and good deeds of the clergy to clear water and their bad conduct and bad deeds to filthy, brutish water.

Book 4 - Chapter 69

The Son speaks: ”You can tell that water from a spring is not good, depending on three things. First, if the water does not have the proper color; second, if it is muddy; third, if it is always stagnant and not in motion, letting in dirt but not getting rid of it.
By these waters, I have in mind the conduct and hearts of the clergy. In the goodness of their conduct, they should be like springwater that is sweet to drink, impervious to all the dirt of vice. Therefore, a priest's proper color is true humility. The more he sees himself as obliged to work for God, the more he will humble himself in thought and deed. The devil's color is found wherever there is pride. Pride is like a leprous hand scooping up water from a spring and making the water itself seem repulsive to those watching. In the same way, a priest's pride shows his works to be defiled.

The water is muddy if a priest is greedy and not content with the necessities of life. When he is anxious he is useless to himself and harmful to others through the example of his greed. Third, the water is unclean when it lets in but does not rid itself of any dirt. This arises both from its outlet being closed and because it has no motion. A priest is thus unclean when he loves carnal pleasures in his heart and body and does not get rid of the unclean things that occur to him. Blemishes anywhere on the body are ugly but especially so on the face. In the same way, impurity should be hateful to everyone but especially to those who are called to higher things. Accordingly, those priests should be chosen for my work who are not full of verbose knowledge but of humility and purity, who behave well in themselves and teach others by word and example. Even a leprous hand is useful for my work, provided the mind is good and the spiritual hand is not lacking.”

The Mother's words to her daughter narrating in order the passion of her blessed Son, and describing her Son's beauty and form.

Book 4 - Chapter 70

The Mother speaks: ”When my Son's passion was near at hand, tears filled his eyes and sweat covered his body from fear of suffering. Next, he was taken from my sight, and I did not see him again until he was led out to be scourged.
He was then dragged along the ground and thrown down so cruelly and violently that it knocked his head about and broke his teeth. He was struck on his neck and cheek so forcefully that the sound of the blows reached my ears.
At the command of the executioner, he undressed himself and freely hugged the pillar. He was bound with a rope and then scourged with barbed whips. The barbs caught in his skin and were then pulled backward, not just tearing but plowing into him so as to wound his whole body.

At the first blow, it was as though my heart had been pierced and I had lost the use of my senses. Then, coming out of it, I see his whole wounded body - for his body was naked during the scourging. Then one of his enemies said to the executioners: 'Do you intend to kill this man without a sentence and cause his death yourselves?' He cut the ropes as he said this. Once released from the pillar, my Son turned first to get his clothes, yet he was not given the time to put them on but was led away while still putting his arms into his sleeves. The footprints he left at the pillar were so full of blood that I could easily make them out and see which way they led by the mark of his blood. And he wiped his bloody face with his tunic.

After the sentence he was led out carrying the cross, but, along the way, another man took his turn carrying it. Once he arrived at the place for crucifixion, a hammer and four sharp nails were ready for him there. He took off his clothes when ordered but covered his private parts with a small cloth. He proceeded to tie it on as though it gave him some consolation to do so. The cross was planted firmly, and the crossbeam was so placed that the juncture was at the center of the shoulder blades. The cross did not have any kind of headrest. The sign with his sentence on it was attached to each arm of the cross sticking out above the head.

On being ordered, he lay down with his back to the cross and, when he was asked to do so, first stretched out his right hand. Then, since his left hand could not reach the other corner of the cross, it had to be stretched out at full length. His feet were similarly stretched out to reach the slots for the nails and placed crosswise, and, as if they had been loosened from the shinbones, were fastened to the wood of the cross by two nails driven through solid bone, as had been done with his hands. At the first hammer stroke, I was thrown into a stupor of sorrow, and when I awoke I saw my Son already fastened to the cross. I heard men saying to one another: 'What has this man committed - theft, robbery, or fraud?' Others answered that he was a fraud. Then the crown of thorns was pushed down on his head so hard that it came down to the middle of his forehead. Streams of blood poured down from where the thorns sat and filled his face and hair and eyes and beard so that almost nothing at all but blood could be seen. He could not even see me standing there by the cross without blinking to get rid of the blood.

After he had entrusted me to his disciple, he lifted up his head, raised his weeping eyes to heaven, and cried out with a voice from deep within his chest, saying: 'My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?' Never was I able to forget that cry, not until I came to heaven, the cry that he uttered, moved more by my suffering than by his own. Now the color of death appeared in those parts of his body that were visible beneath the blood. His cheeks cleaved to his teeth. You could count his thin, naked ribs. His stomach, emptied now of all its juices, was sucked in toward his back, and even his nostrils looked thin now. When his heart was near to breaking, his whole body shook and his beard fell toward his chest. Right then, I collapsed lifeless to the ground. His mouth remained open, as he had already breathed his last. His tongue and teeth and the blood in his mouth were visible to onlookers. His half-closed eyes had rolled backward. His now dead body sagged downward, with his knees bent to either side, and his feet bending on the nails like hinges.

Meanwhile other people standing nearby were saying almost insultingly, 'O, Mary, your son is dead.' Others, more nobleminded, were saying: 'Lady, your son's suffering is now ended unto his eternal glory.' A little later, after his side had been opened, the lance was pulled out with blood that was brown in color showing on its tip, which meant that the lance had pierced his heart. That penetrating lance was also felt going through my own heart, and it is a wonder that my heart did not burst. Though the others were going away, I could not go away. I felt almost comforted to be able to touch his body when it was taken down from the cross, and take it in my arms, and explore his wounds and wipe away the blood. I closed his mouth with my fingers and shut his eyes as well. I could not bend his rigid arms all the way back to repose on his chest but only across his stomach. His knees could not be straightened out but pointed outward in the same position in which they had stiffened on the cross.”

The Mother speaks again: ”Though you cannot see my Son as he exists in heaven, hear at least how he was in body on earth. He was so fair of face that no one, not even someone very sad at heart, could see him face-to-face without being cheered at his sight. The righteous were cheered with spiritual comfort, but even the wicked found relief from the sorrow of the world for as long as they looked on him. For that reason, people who were sad used to say: 'Let us go and see Mary's son and at least find some relief as long as we are there.'

In his twentieth year of age, he was perfect in size and manly strength, tall for the men of medium height in those days, not fleshy but well built as to muscles and bones. His hair, eyelashes, and beard were golden brown. His beard was a palm-width in length. His forehead was neither sunken but straight. His nose was evenly built, neither too little nor too large.
His eyes were so limpid that even his enemies loved to gaze on him. His lips were not too thick and were bright red. His jaw did not jut out and was not too long but attractive and of a fine length. His cheeks were nicely rounded. He was fair-skinned with traces of red, and he had straight posture. There was not a blemish on his whole body, as his scourgers can testify who saw him bound to the pillar completely naked. There were never any vermin or knots or dirt in his hair.”

Christ puts loving questions to the bride, and she gives humble answers to him, and about how Christ submitted three praiseworthy states to the choice of the bride: the state of virginity, the married state, and the widowed state.

Book 4 - Chapter 71

The Son of God speaks to his bride: ”Answer for me the four questions I ask. If someone gives his friend a fruitful vine but keeps it close to his own house so that he might have the pleasure of seeing and smelling it, what should the giver say if the new owner of the vine were to ask if he could transplant it to another place where it could bear more plentiful fruit?” She answers: ”If the friend gave him it out of love and was sensible and desired the good for his friend, then he would certainly allow him to do whatever he wanted with the vine, saying: 'My friend, though it makes me happy to have the vine close by, still it does not yield me much fruit, and so I am happy if you can transfer it, if you like, to a more fertile spot.' ”

The Lord asked a second time: ”If parents were to give their maiden daughter to a young man, and she consented to the youth, but if the boy, when asked by the parents whether he wanted to have her or not, does not give an answer, is the girl betrothed then or not?” She answered: ”It seems to me that, since the boy did not express his own wishes, the girl is not betrothed.”

The Lord spoke a third time: ”A noble youth in the company of three maidens proposed to them that whichever of them could express herself in a way that excited his love the most would obtain that which the youth loved the most. The first girl answered: 'I love this young man so much that I would rather die than disgrace myself with another man.' The second girl said: 'And I would rather suffer any kind of pain than utter a single word against his wishes.' The third answered: 'I would prefer to suffer any kind of bitter pain or condemnation rather than see his least little scorn or condemnation.' '' Then the Lord said: ”Tell me, which of these three maidens loved the youth most and should receive his preferential love?” She answered: ”It seems to me that they all loved him equally, since they were all of one accord in his respect, and all of them equally deserve to have his love.”

The Lord spoke a fourth time: ”A man once consulted his friend and said: 'I have very fertile wheat. If it is sown in the ground, it yields a great crop.
However, I am very hungry, so what do you think is more advisable: to eat it or to sow it in the ground?' His friend answers: 'Your hunger can be stilled at another time. Now it is more useful for you to sow it in the ground.' ” Then the Lord added: ”My daughter, do you not think the same - should not the person experiencing hunger endure it and plant the grain so that it will be good for many people?”

The Lord said again: ”These four examples apply to you. Your daughter is like a vine that you have vowed and given to me. Now, however, since I know a more suitable place for her, I want to transplant her where I please, and you should not be upset by this, since you gave your consent to the transplantation.”

The Lord said again: ”You gave me your daughter, but I did not show you which would be more acceptable to me, her virginity or her matrimony, or whether your sacrifice pleased me or not. Therefore, the things that were done in uncertainty can be changed and corrected now that they are known with certainty.” The Lord said again: ”Virginity is good and most excellent, for it resembles the angelic state, provided it is maintained with wisdom and virtue.
But if the one is missing from the other, that is, if there is virginity of the flesh but not of the mind, then that virginity has been deformed. A devout and humble housewife is more acceptable to me than a proud and immodest virgin. A God-fearing housewife, who is in control of herself and lives according to the rule of her state, can win equal merit as a humble and modest virgin. Although it is a great thing to stand the test of fire without burning, it is an equally great thing to remain outside the fire of the religious state but to be willing to be in the fire and to burn with greater ardor outside the fire than one does who is in the fire.

I offer you the example of three women - Susanna, Judith, and Thecla the virgin. The first was married, the second a widow, the third a virgin. They had different ways of life and made different choices, but they gained a similar reward by their meritorious deeds. When Susanna was falsely molested by the priests, she preferred, out of love for God, death to disgracing her state in life. Because she feared me as being everywhere present, she deserved to be saved and to be glorified for the sake of her salvation. When Judith saw the dishonor done to me and her people being lost, she was so troubled that she not only exposed herself to blame and condemnation for the sake of her love for God, but was also prepared to suffer punishment for my sake. Finally, Thecla, who was a virgin, preferred to suffer bitter torments than to utter a single word against me. These three women, although their actions were not one and the same, nevertheless were equal in merit. Therefore, whether virgin or widow, everyone is equally capable of pleasing me, provided that all their desire is directed toward me and that their life is virtuous.”

The Lord said again: ”It is equally acceptable to me whether your daughter remains a virgin or marries, provided that it is done according to my will. What would it profit her if she perhaps were cloistered in body but remained outside the walls in her mind? Or, which would be more glorious: to live for herself or for the benefit of others? I know and foresee all things, and I do nothing without a reason. Therefore, she shall not arrive at her destination by the first fruit, for that would be out of fear, nor the second fruit, for that would be out of lukewarmness.
She will, however, arrive in the middle state, for that has just the right warmth of love and fruit of virtue. However, the man who is to receive her should possess three things - housing, clothing, and food enough to receive her.”


The Son speaks: ”You are wondering why this virgin did not come to be married in the way you hoped. I answer by way of a parable. A certain nobleman arranged to give his daughter in marriage to a poor man. This man, who was to have been betrothed to the maiden, broke the laws of the city and was dishonorably expelled by the citizens and did not get the maiden whom he desired. I have acted in the same manner with the ruler of this country. I promised to do great things for him, but instead he joined my enemies and therefore did not obtain the things I promised him.

But you might ask: Could I not foresee the future? Of course, I foresaw it, in the same way as can be read in the case of Moses and his people. I have revealed and do reveal many things so that people can prepare themselves for good things and know what to do and wait patiently. Know, however, that one woe has passed and another shall come upon the ungrateful people of this kingdom in order that my blessing may afterward come upon the humble persons who entreat my mercy. Know, too, that it would be better for this virgin to follow the advice of the wise and of me.”
This virgin is believed to have been Lady Cecilia, St. Birgitta's daughter. Concerning her, see St. Birgitta's biography.

The words of Christ concerning the sisters of the risen Lazarus, and about how (as I believe) the sisters stand for the bride and her daughter, Lazarus for the soul, the Jews for envious persons, and about how God has shown the latter greater mercy than he did for the sisters of Lazarus, and about how people who talk much but do little become indignant against those who do good deeds.

Book 4 - Chapter 72

The Son speaks: ”There were two sisters, Martha and Mary, whose brother I raised from the dead. After his resurrection, he served me more than before. His sisters, too, though they had been my servants and zealous in attending to me before their brother's resurrection, showed themselves much more solicitous and devoted afterward. I have treated you in a similar way spiritually. Thus, I raised your brother, that is, your soul that - fetid after being dead for four days - had separated itself from me by breaking my commandments, by base desire and delight in the sweetness of the world and of sins.

There were, however, four reasons that moved me to raise Lazarus. The first was that he had been my friend while he lived. The second was the love of his sisters. The third was that Mary's humility had earned such a reward when she washed my feet. She deserved to be gladdened and honored to the extent to which she had lowered herself for my sake in the sight of the guests. The fourth reason was to manifest the glory of my human nature. These four reasons do not, however, apply to you, since you love the world more than they did. Therefore, my mercy toward you is greater than my mercy toward those sisters. It is clearly all the greater inasmuch as spiritual death is more dangerous than bodily death, and the resurrection of the soul is more glorious than bodily resurrection.

Hence, since my mercy excels your deeds, welcome me, as those sisters did, into the home of your minds with most fervent charity, loving nothing as me, having total trust in me, each day humbling yourselves along with Mary by weeping for your sins, unashamed to live humble among the proud, chaste among the unchaste, showing to others outwardly how much you love me inwardly. Furthermore, like those sisters, you ought to be of one heart and one mind, strong in scorning the world and quick in praising God. If you do so, then I will raise your brother - your soul - for you and protect it from being killed by the Jews.

What would it have profited Lazarus to rise from a present death, unless, by living more virtuously in the present life, he might rise up more glorious to a second and lasting life? Who are the Jews who sought to kill Lazarus if not those who become indignant because you lead better lives than theirs, who have learned to speak loftily but to do little, who, seeking the approval of others, scorn the deeds of their predecessors with all the greater scorn the less they themselves deign to understand the higher truths?

There are many such people. They know how to discourse on the virtues but not how to observe them by leading virtuous lives. Their souls are therefore in danger, because their words are many but their deeds are not to be seen. Did my preachers act in this manner? By no means! They certainly did not admonish sinners with lofty words but with few and charitable words, and they were ready to give their own souls for the souls of sinners. Through their charity, others obtained charity, for the teacher's zeal forms the mind of the listener more than mere words do. Many preachers nowadays say abstruse things about me, but no fruit comes of it, because wood is not set on fire by merely blowing on it but only with the aid of sparks of fire.

I shall guard and protect you from these Jews so that you will not leave me because of what they do or say. Yet, I shall not protect you in such a way that you escape every suffering but that you may not succumb due to lack of patient endurance. Stick to your resolution, and I shall set your will on fire with my charity.”

The Virgin's words to the bride concerning how she should not be upset about the knight who was declared to be dead and shown to her as though dead.

Book 4 - Chapter 73

A certain knight who was alive was declared to be dead. In a spiritual vision he was also shown to the bride to be as though he were dead and begging for help. Because this lady was upset by his death, the Mother of mercy said to her: ”Daughter, you will find out in time whether or not the knight is dead, but we still want to strive so that he may live a better life.”

Christ's words to his bride; John the Baptist's words of praise to Christ, and the devout prayers he pours forth in Christ's presence on behalf of Christians and especially for a certain knight. Through John's prayers, the knight, with his own hands and with the helping hands of the glorious Virgin and of Peter and Paul, is armed and decorated with spiritual weapons, that is, with the virtues. Also, what each of these bodily weapons signifies, and about praying well.

Book 4 - Chapter 74

The Son of God was speaking to his bride, saying: ”You set it down today that it is better to forestall than to be forestalled. Indeed, I forestalled you with my sweet grace so that the devil would not gain control of your soul.”
John the Baptist suddenly appeared and said: ”Blessed are you, God! You preexist all things. There has never been another god together with you or besides you nor will there ever be any after you, for you are and were one God forever. You are the truth promised by the prophets. While yet unborn I rejoiced in you. I recognized you more fully when I pointed you out. You are our joy and our glory, our longing and our delight. The sight of you fills us with an indescribable pleasure, which none knows but the one who has tasted of it. You are our only love. It is no wonder that we love you, for you are love itself, and you love not only those who love you but, being the creator of all, you are even charitable to those who scorn to know you. Now then, my Lord, because we are rich through you and in you, we ask you to give of our spiritual riches to those who lack riches so that more people may partake of our good fortune, just as we rejoice not in our own merits but in you.”

Christ answers: ”You are indeed an uppermost limb alongside and next to the head. Yet the neck is closer and more excellent. As I am the head of all, so my Mother is like the neck, and then come the angels. You and my apostles are like the joints of the backbone, for you not only love me, but you also honor me by helping those who love me. What I said therefore remains firm: The works that I do, you shall also do, and your will is my will. As the head of the body does not move without its limbs, so too in your spiritual connection and union with me it is not one thing to wish and another to be able to do, but rather you have every ability to do what each one of you wishes. Therefore, your request shall be fulfilled.”

After these words were spoken, John brought a certain knight who was almost half-dead into their midst and said: ”Here, Lord, here is a man who has consecrated his knighthood to you. He is trying to struggle but is not strong enough, for he is unarmed and weak. I am bound to help him for a twofold reason, both because of his parents' merits and because of the love he feels toward my honor. Therefore, for your own glory, give him a knight's attire to keep the shame of his nakedness from being seen.”

The Lord answered: ”Give him what you like and fit him out as you please!” Then John said: ”Come, my son, and receive from me the first garment of your knighthood. Once you have it, you will more easily be able to receive and bear the rest of your knightly gear. It is fitting for a knight to have a soft and smooth tunic close to his skin. The bodily tunic is soft and smooth, and likewise your spiritual tunic must be to keep God dear to your soul and delightful to your affections.

Delight in God comes from two things: the consideration of his kindnesses, and the remembrance of the sins you have committed. I had both of them as a boy. You see, I considered what a grace God had prepared for me while I was not yet born, and what a blessing he had given me after my birth. I sighed to consider how I might worthily repay my God. I considered, too, the instability of the world, and so I ran off to the desert where my Lord Jesus became so sweet for me that the thought of all the world's pleasures wearied me and the mere desire for them became a burden. Come, then, and put on this tunic, for the rest will be given to you in due time.”

Then Blessed Peter the Apostle appeared and said: ”John gave you a tunic, but I, who fell low but got up like a man, shall procure for you a coat of mail, that is, divine charity. Just as chain mail consists of many iron rings, so too charity protects a man against enemy missiles and makes him more even-tempered in enduring the evils that threaten, more agile in honoring God and more fervent in divine works, invincible in adversity, calm in hope, steadfast in the tasks he undertakes. This chain mail should shine like gold and be as strong as steel and iron, for everyone who has charity should be as malleable as gold in the endurance of adversity as well as shining in wisdom and discernment so as not to exchange heresy for sound faith nor doubt for certain truth.

The mail must be as strong as iron. Just as iron subdues all, so too a man of charity must be eager to humble all those who stand in the way of faith and good morals without yielding because of abusive language. He must not bend due to friendships nor grow lukewarm for the sake of his own material comforts. He must not hide for the sake of bodily ease, nor be afraid of dying, for no one can take someone's life away without God's permission. Now, though chain mail consists of many rings, nevertheless the chain mail of charity is woven of two principal rings. The first ring of charity is the knowledge of God and the frequent consideration of divine kindnesses and precepts.

This makes a man recognize how he should behave toward God, toward his neighbor, and toward the world. The second ring is the curbing of one's selfish will for God's sake. Everyone with a perfect and whole love of God keeps nothing of his own will for himself if it goes against God. Here, my son, God gives you this coat of mail, which I have won for you as was anticipated by God's grace.”

Blessed Paul then appeared and said: ”O, my son, Peter, the chief pastor of the sheep, gave you a coat of mail. Of love for God, I shall give you that cuirass that is love for your neighbor, a willingness to die freely for your neighbor's salvation with the help of God's grace. Just as many plates are combined in a cuirass and bound together with nails, so too there are many virtues that come together in the love for one's neighbor. Everyone who loves his neighbor is bound to feel sorrow, first of all, because not all of those redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ repay God with love in return. He should feel sorrow, in the second place, because the Holy Church, God's bride, is not in the most commendable condition. Third, because there are very few who remember God's sufferings with anguish and love. Fourth, he should be on his guard so that his neighbor may not be corrupted by any bad example of his own. Fifth, he should give his possessions to his neighbor cheerfully and pray to God for him that he may advance and become perfect in every goodness.

The nails that hold the plates together are godly words. When a charitable man sees his neighbor in trouble, he should comfort him with words of charity; he should defend him when unjustly attacked; he should visit the sick, ransom hostages, and not be ashamed of the poor. He should ever love the truth, put nothing ahead of the love of God, and never swerve from the way of justice. I myself was outfitted with this cuirass, for I was weak with the weak, unashamed to speak the truth in the sight of kings and princes, and ready to die for the salvation of my neighbor.”

Then the Mother of God appeared and said to the knight: ”My son, what do you still need?” And he said: ”I have no helmet for my head.” The Mother of mercy then said to the guardian angel of his soul: ”How did your guardianship benefit his soul and what do you have to present to our Lord?” The angel answered: ”I do have something to present, but it is not much. Sometimes he gave alms and sometimes said prayers. Sometimes, too, he denied his own will for God's sake, sincerely asking God to make the world become distasteful to him and God dear to him above all things.”

The Mother answered: ”It is good that you have something to bring. We will then do what a skillful goldsmith does when he is about to make some grand object out of gold. If he needs gold and does not have it, he turns for help to friends who have it. His friends who have gold help him to complete his work. If a person is making an object of clay, who will give him any gold? It is not fitting to mix gold with clay. Therefore, all the saints, rich in gold, will together with me earn a helmet for you to have. This helmet is the intention of pleasing God alone. As a helmet protects the head from arrows and blows, so too a good intention directed toward God alone protects the soul so that the temptations of the devil do not prevail against it, and it introduces God into the soul.

The good knight George had this intention, as did Maurice and many others, including the thief who hung on the cross. Without it, no one can lay a good foundation or come to his reward. The helmet should have two openings in front of the eyes to allow one to see in advance anything approaching. These openings are discernment concerning things to be done and caution concerning things to be omitted, for, without discernment and forethought, many things that seem good at the start turn out to be bad in the end.”

The Mother asked the knight again: ”What do you still need, my son?” And he answered: ”My hands are naked and have no armor.” The Mother said: ”I will help you so that your hands will not be naked. Just as you have two bodily hands, you likewise have two spiritual ones. The right hand with which the sword is held symbolizes the work of justice. There should be five virtues like five fingers there. The first finger means that every just person must first be just to himself. This is done by guarding against anything in one's speech, action, or example that might offend one's neighbor so that one does not undo through one's own disorderly behavior what one teaches to others or justly reprehends in them. The second finger means not to carry out justice or the deeds of justice for the sake of human favor or worldly greed but for the love of God alone. The third means not to show unjust fear of anyone nor to dissemble anything out of friendship nor to swerve away from justice for anyone's sake, rich or poor, friend or foe.

The fourth means to be ready and willing to die for the sake of justice. The fifth means not only to do justice but also to love justice wisely. The result of this is that the sentence shows both mercy and justice, and the person who commits a lesser sin is corrected in one way, while the person who commits a greater is corrected in another way, and the person who sins from ignorance in one way, while the person who sins by design or malice in another way. Whoever has these five fingers should be careful not to sharpen his sword through impatience nor dull it through worldly pleasure nor drop it through imprudence or darken it through frivolity.

The left hand symbolizes godly prayer. This, too, has five fingers. The first is a firm belief in the articles of faith concerning the divine and human natures, putting it all into practice and believing all that the Holy Church, God's bride, professes. The second is the refusal to sin deliberately against God along with the desire to make reparation for all the sins you have committed through contrition and atonement. The third is to entreat God to turn the love of the flesh into a spiritual love. The fourth is living for nothing else in the world but to give glory to God and to reduce the amount of sin. The fifth is never to rely on your own strength in any way but ever to fear God and to await death at any hour. There, my son, these are the two hands you should have. With the right hand you must brandish the sword of justice against the transgressors of justice. With the left hand of prayer you must plead for God's help so that you never trust to your own righteousness nor become insolent toward God.”

Blessed Mary appeared again and said to the knight: ”What do you still need, my son?” He answered: ”Leg armor.” And she said: ”Listen to me, O knight who once belonged to the world but now is mine. God created everything in heaven and on earth, but worthiest and most beautiful among the lower creatures is the soul, similar to good will in her conceptions. Just as many branches shoot forth from a tree, so too every virtuous perfection shoots forth from the soul through spiritual exercise and activity. Therefore, in order to obtain spiritual leg armor, you must, by the grace of God, begin with good will.

A twofold consideration must support your will, like two legs standing on golden bases. The perfect soul's first leg is the following consideration: that you would refuse to sin even if no punishment were to follow. The second leg consists in doing good works with great patience and love of God, even in the face of your own damnation. The knees of the soul are the cheerfulness and fortitude of a good intention. As the knees curve and bend with the use of the legs, so too the soul's intention should bend and stop in obedience to reason according to the will of God.

It is written that spirit and flesh are opposed to each other. Thus, Paul also says: 'I do not do the good I want.' It is as if he said: 'I want to do good according to the soul but I am unable because of the weakness of the flesh. Yet, what happens when I am sometimes able to do them though not cheerfully?' Shall the Apostle be deprived of his wages because he had the will but not the ability, or because he did good things but not cheerfully? Certainly not!

Rather, his reward will be increased twofold: first because, with respect to the outer man, the action was difficult for him due to the flesh's resistance to the good; second because, with respect to the inner man, he did not always receive spiritual consolation. Accordingly, many secular people work in the world but receive no reward for it, because they act out of carnal motives. If their work was a command from God, they would not be as eager to do it. These two legs of the soul, then, the refusal to sin against God and the intention of doing good works, even should damnation follow, must be equipped with a double armor, namely, the discerning use of temporal goods and the discerning desire to seek heavenly ones. The discerning use of temporal goods means possessing them for the purpose of a moderate subsistence and not in excess. The discerning desire for heavenly goods means the intention of earning heaven through good works and exertion. The human creature has turned away from God through ingratitude and sloth and must therefore return to God by work and humility. So, my son, since you do not have these, let us turn to the holy martyrs and confessors who abounded in such riches and ask them to help you.”

Then the saints appeared and said: ”O, Blessed Lady, you bore the Lord of life and you are the Lady of all creation. What is there that you cannot do? You wish, and it is done. Your will is always our will. You are truly the Mother of love, for you attend to everyone with love.” The Mother appeared again and said to the knight: ”Son, we still lack the shield. A shield needs two things: on the one hand, strength, and, on the other, the emblem of the lord under whom one is serving as a soldier. The spiritual shield signifies the consideration of God's bitter passion. This should be on your left arm next to your heart so that as often as carnal pleasure entices your mind, you may recollect the bruises of Jesus Christ. Whenever the world's disdain and opposition sting and sadden your mind, you should recall the poverty and ignominy of Christ. Whenever honors or a long life in the flesh entice you, you should call to mind Christ's bitter suffering and death.

Such a shield should possess both the strength of perseverance in goodness and the breadth of love. The emblem on the shield should be of two colors, because nothing is seen more clearly at a distance than something composed of two bright colors. The colors decorating the shield of the consideration of the divine passion are, on the one hand, self-control over disorderly emotions and, on the other hand, purity and restraint with regard to the promptings of the flesh.

Indeed, heaven is lit up by these two colors, and the angels see them and exult with joy, saying: 'Behold the sign of purity and the token of our fellowship! We must help this knight.' The demons see the knight decorated with these tokens on his shield and exclaim: 'What shall we do, fellows? This knight is fearful to encounter and gloriously armed. At his sides are the weapons of virtue, behind him stands an army of angels, at his left he has a most watchful guardian, God himself, and all around him there are plenty of eyes attentive to our wickedness. We can do battle with him only to our shame, because we can in no way prevail.' How happy is that knight whom the angels honor and in fear of whom the demons tremble! But, my son, since you have not yet acquired this shield, let us ask the holy angels who shine in spiritual purity to help you.”

The Mother speaks again: ”My son, we still lack a sword. A sword needs two qualities: first, it should have sharp edges and, second, it must be thoroughly sharpened. The spiritual sword is trust in God in order to fight for justice. This trust should have two edges: upright justice in prosperity, as it were, on the right edge, and thanksgiving in adversity, as it were, on the left edge. Good Job had such a sword. When he was prosperous, he offered sacrifice for his children and was like a father to the poor, and his door stood open for the wayfarer. He did not walk in the way of vanity nor covet the goods of others but feared God as the One who sits on the waves of the sea. Then again, he gave thanks in adversity. When he lost his children, when he was upbraided by his wife and afflicted with horrible boils, he bore it all with patience, saying: 'The Lord has given, the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the Lord.' This sword should be kept thoroughly sharpened by crushing the assailants of justice as did Moses and David, by showing zeal for the law like Phinehas, by speaking firmly like Elias and John. O, how many people nowadays have a very dull sword! Even if they speak in word, they lift not a finger and pay no heed to God's glory in their quest for human favor. And so, because you have no such sword, let us ask the patriarchs and prophets who had such great trust in God, and a sword shall be given to us.”

The Mother appeared again and said to the knight: ”My son, you are still in need of something to cover your weapons and protect them from rust and damage from rain. This covering is charity, the readiness to die for God, and even - if it were possible - to be separated from God for the sake of the salvation of one's brethren. This kind of charity covers all sins, preserves the virtues, placates God's wrath, makes all things possible, frightens demons away, and is the joy of angels. This covering should be white on the inside and gleam like gold on the outside, for wherever the zeal of divine love is found neither the one kind of purity nor the other is neglected. The apostles were full of this charity. We must ask them to help you.”

The Mother appeared again and said: ”My son, you still have need of a horse and saddle. The spiritual signification of the horse is baptism. Just as a horse has its four legs and carries a man on the journey he must accomplish, so too baptism, as signified by the horse, carries a man in the sight of God and has four spiritual effects. The first effect is that the baptized are liberated from the devil and bound to the commandments and service of God. The second effect is that they are cleansed from original sin. The third is that they are made God's children and coheirs. The fourth is that heaven is opened to them.

Yet how many there are today who, having reached the age of reason, pull the reins on the horse of baptism and ride it off on a false path! The baptismal path is true and rightly followed when people are instructed and upheld in good moral habits before reaching the age of reason and when, upon reaching the age of reason and carefully considering what was promised at the baptismal font, they keep their faith and love of God intact. However, they ride away from the right path and rein the horse in when they prefer the world and the flesh to God.

The saddle of the horse or of baptism is the effect of the bitter passion and death of Jesus Christ, which gave baptism its efficacy. What is water if not an element? As soon as God's blood was poured out, God's word and the power of God's outpoured blood entered into the element. Thus, by the word of God, the water of baptism became the means of reconciliation between humankind and God, the gate of mercy, the expulsion of demons, the way to heaven, and the forgiveness of sins. So those who would boast of the power of baptism should first consider how the effect of baptism was instituted through bitter pain. When their mind swells up with pride against God, let them consider how bitter their redemption was, how many times they have broken their baptismal vows, and what they deserve for their relapses into sin.

In order to sit firmly in the saddle of the baptismal effect, two stirrups are needed, that is, two considerations in prayer. First one should pray in such a way: 'Lord God almighty, blessed are you who have created and redeemed me. Although I am worthy of damnation, you showed tolerance for my sins and brought me back to repentance. Lord, in the presence of your majesty, I admit that I have uselessly and culpably wasted all that you have given me for my salvation. I have wasted the time given for penance on vanities, lent my body to excesses, and used up the grace of baptism through pride. I loved it all more than you, my creator and redeemer, my nourisher and protector. And so, I beg for your mercy, for I am wretched in myself. Because I did not acknowledge your kind patience toward me or fear your terrible equity, I gave no thought as to how I should requite you for your innumerable good gifts. Rather, day by day I sought to provoke you with my wickedness. Therefore, I have only one thing to say to you: Have mercy on me, God, according to your great mercy!'

The second prayer is like this: 'Lord God almighty, I know that everything I have comes from you and that I am nothing without you and can do nothing without you other than what I myself have accomplished, which is nothing but sin. Humbly, therefore, I implore your pity. Do not deal with me according to my sins but according to your great mercy. Send your Holy Spirit to enlighten my heart and confirm me in the way of your commandments so that I may be able to persevere in that which I have come to know through your inspiration and never be separated from you by any temptations.'
Therefore, my son, since you lack this, let us ask those who fixed God's passion in their hearts with greater sorrow to share their charity with you.”

When this was said, a horse suddenly appeared equipped with gilt ornaments. And the Mother said: ”The horse's ornaments symbolize the gifts of the Holy Spirit that are given in baptism. No matter whether it is administered by a good or a bad minister, baptism takes away the ancestral offense, increases grace, pardons every sin, gives the Holy Spirit as a pledge, angels as guardians, and heaven as an inheritance.
See, my son, these are the trappings of a spiritual knight. A knight who wears them will receive the ineffable wages with which he can purchase perpetual joy, most peaceful honor, eternal plenty and everlasting life.”
The knight was Sir Karl, St. Birgitta's son.

The bride's words of prayer and praise to Christ and the Virgin. The Virgin's consoling reply to the daughter, showing her that God in his righteous decision often lets his power become more manifest through the lies of the devil. And about how tribulations lead to spiritual benefits.

Book 4 - Chapter 75

“Blessed are you, my God, my Creator and Redeemer. You are the ransom through which we were freed from captivity, through which we are led toward salvation and share in the Unity and Trinity. Therefore, even if I blush over my own ugliness, yet I rejoice because you, having died once to save us, nevermore shall die. You are truly he who existed before the ages, he who has power over life and death. You alone are God, almighty and awesome. May you be blessed forever!

But what shall I say of you, O blessed Mary, the salvation of the entire world? You are like someone who has a friend saddened over something he has lost and who puts that lost possession suddenly before his eyes, thus relieving his sorrow, increasing his joy and enkindling his whole spirit with gladness. You, Mother most sweet, showed the world its God, whom men had lost. You gave birth to him who was born before time and at whose birth heaven and earth rejoiced. Therefore, sweet Mother, I ask you to help me so that my enemy may not rejoice over me nor prevail against me with his machinations.”

The Mother answered: ”I shall help you. But why are you upset because one thing was shown to you spiritually and another was heard physically - I mean because that knight, who was physically alive, was shown to you as spiritually dead and in need of spiritual help? Hear now something that is certain. Every truth comes from God and every falsehood from the devil, who is the father of falsehood. Yet, although truth is from God, nevertheless, through the malice and falsehood of the devil, which God sometimes permits according to his secret decision, God's power is made more manifest, as I will show you by way of a comparison.

Once there was a maiden who tenderly loved her bridegroom, and he loved her similarly. God was glorified through their love, and the parents of both were happy. Their enemy saw it and thought to himself as follows: 'I know that bride and bridegroom come together in three ways - through letters, through mutual conversation, and through their bodily union. Accordingly, I will fill all the roads with stakes, brambles, and hooks in order to block the access of messengers and letter carriers. In order to obstruct their conversation, I will raise a din and clatter to distract them in conversing. In order to prevent them coming together naked in bed, I will appoint guards to watch every nook and cranny so that they will have no opportunity to come together.'

The bridegroom, more astute than his enemy, realized these things and said to his servants: 'My enemy is setting traps for me in such and such places. Be on the lookout in those places, and if you discover it, let him go on working until he has laid his snares, and then swoop down on him but without killing him. Instead, shout and mock at him so that your fellow servants see the enemy's wiles and become more careful in guarding and watching.' Something similar occurs in spiritual matters. The letters by which the bridegroom and bride, that is, God and the good soul, come together are simply the prayers and aspirations of good people. Just as physical letters are an indication of the feelings and intentions of the sender, so too the prayers of good people enter into the heart of God and join the soul to God in a single bond of love. The devil, however, sometimes prevents human hearts from asking for that which is conducive to the salvation of the soul or contrary to carnal pleasure. Moreover, he prevents those who pray for other sinners from being heard, since, being sinners, they do not seek any improvement for their own souls or ask for something of everlasting worth.

The mutual conversations through which bridegroom and bride become one heart and one soul stand for nothing other than penance and contrition. Sometimes the devil raises such a din between them that they cannot hear each other. This din stands for nothing other than the devil's base suggestion to the heart desirous of performing fruitful penance. He says this through his promptings: 'O, my dainty soul, is it not hard to undertake unfamiliar and unaccustomed practices? Do you think everyone can become perfect? It is enough for you to be one of the many. Why are you attempting to do greater things? Why are you doing what no one else does? You will not be able to persevere. Everyone will laugh you to scorn, if you lower yourself and become excessively submissive.'

Deluded by such suggestions, the soul thinks to herself: 'It is a heavy thing to give up customary habits. I will just make my confession about past sins. It is enough for me to follow the path of the majority. I am not capable of becoming perfect. Surely God is merciful. He would not have redeemed us if he wanted us to perish.' By means of this kind of din the devil prevents God from hearing the soul. It is not that God does not hear everything but that he is not pleased in hearing such talk, when the soul consents more to temptation than to her own reason.

The naked union of God and the soul stands for nothing other than the heavenly longing and the pure charity with which the soul ought to burn in every hour. This charity gets impeded in four ways. First, the devil urges the soul to do something against God that, though not counting as something serious, still delights her mind. Delight of this kind, since she makes light of it and does not bother about it, is hateful to God. Second, the devil inspires the soul to do certain good deeds in order to please others and sometimes, out of fear or for the sake of worldly honor, to omit certain good deeds that she could do. Third, the devil induces forgetfulness and listlessness in the soul with regard to the good deeds she ought to carry out, and her mind gets absorbed by this and grows weary of doing good. Fourth, the devil makes the soul grow anxious about worldly cares or needless sorrows and joys or extravagant fears.

Such things, then, obstruct the letters, that is, the prayers of the just, as well as the mutual conversation of bridegroom and bride. However, though the devil is astute, God is all the more wiser and stronger in shattering the snares of his enemy so that the letters that have been sent can reach the bridegroom.

The snares are shattered when God inspires good thoughts, and when the heart desires to have the intention of fleeing base acts and of doing deeds that are pleasing to God. The enemy's din gets dispelled when the soul is discreetly penitent and has the intention of not repeating confessed sins.

Know that the devil not only raises a din and clatter for people hostile to God but even for God's friends. You may understand this better by way of a comparison. A maiden was once speaking with a man when a curtain appeared between them. The man saw it indeed, but not the maiden. At the end of their conversation, the maiden lifted up her eyes and saw the curtain. Frightened, she said to herself: 'God help me so that I may not be deceived by the snares of the enemy!' When the bridegroom saw the maiden's sadness, he removed the curtain and showed her the truth of the whole matter. Similarly, perfect persons may receive divine inspirations, but then the devil raises a din whenever they get puffed up with sudden pride or become downcast with excessive fear or tolerate the sins of others with inordinate condescension or grow weak through excessive joy or sadness.

Something similar has happened to you. The devil induced some men to write to you that he who was alive was dead, and you were therefore overcome with great sorrow. But God revealed to you his spiritual death, and so, for your consolation, God proved true in a spiritual sense that which was false in a physical sense as stated by those who wrote to you. You see, it is true what they say about tribulations leading to spiritual benefits. If you had not been saddened due to the lie that you had heard, such great power and spiritual beauty would not have been shown to you. For that reason, and so that you might understand God's hidden dispensation, a kind of curtain was lowered between your soul and God as he spoke, for that man's soul appeared in the shape of one in need of help, and God made this observation at the end of each locution: 'You will know in due time whether he is dead or alive.' As soon as you were shown the spiritual beauty and adornment with which a soul must be equipped in order to enter heaven, the curtain was removed, and you were shown the truth, namely, that the man was physically alive but spiritually dead, and that whoever enters the homeland of heaven must be armed in such virtues.

However, the devil's intention was to tempt you with lies and upset you in order to distract you from the love of God through sorrow over the loss of someone so dear. But as soon as you said 'God help me if this is an illusion!' then the veil was removed and both the physical and spiritual truth were revealed to you. The devil is thus permitted to afflict even the righteous in order that their reward may be increased.”

The Virgin's words to the daughter showing her who God's friends are. Also about how few of them are found in modern times, no matter whether one adduces the state of the laity or of the clergy. And about why God who is rich loves poverty, and why he chose the poor and not the rich, and for what purpose riches were conceded to the church.

Book 4 - Chapter 76

The Mother is speaking to the bride of Christ: ”Why are you troubled, my daughter?” She replies: ”Because I am afraid of being sent to hardened sinners.” And the Mother said: ”How do you know whether they are hard-hearted or friends of God?” She said: ”I do not know how to discern it. Certainly, I do not dare to judge anyone, for two men were shown to me. The first was very humble and holy in human eyes, whereas the other was prodigal and ambitious. However their intentions and will did not correspond to their deeds. They were terribly frightening to my mind.”

The Mother answered: ”It is permissible to the mind to make judgments based on clearly visible signs of badness in order to be able to show compassion or to make corrections. However, it is not safe for the mind to make judgments in doubtful and uncertain cases. This is why I want to indicate to you who God's friends are. Know that God's friends are those who receive God's gifts with pious fear, who are always thanking him for them and do not crave unnecessary possessions but content themselves with what they have been given.

But where are such as these to be found? Let us inquire first among the common people. Who among them says, 'I have enough, I crave nothing more'? Let us inquire among the knights and other lords. Which of them thinks as follows: 'I inherited the goods that I have, and I require only a reasonable means of support from them as is appropriate before God and men. I shall share the rest with God and the poor. But if I should discover that my hereditary goods were ill-gotten, then I shall either restore them or submit to the decision of God's chosen spiritual servants.' Such thoughts, my daughter, are rare here on earth.

Let us also inquire among kings and generals. Who among them is in a commendable state? That man is a king who is like Job in character, like David in humility, like Phinehas in zeal for the law, like Moses in meekness and patience. That man is a general who leads the king's army and forms them for battle; who, like Joshua, has trust in God and pious fear; who, like Joab, seeks the advantage of his lord rather than his own advantage; who, like Judas Maccabees, shows zeal for the law and wants the best for his neighbor. Such a general is like a unicorn with a sharp horn on its forehead and a precious jewel beneath the horn. What does the general's horn represent if not his manly heart with which he should fight vigorously and smite the enemies of the faith? The jewel beneath his horn is the general's divine charity that remains firmly in his heart and renders him agile and invincible in every undertaking. Nowadays, however, generals are more like rampant bucks than unicorns, for they do battle everywhere for the sake of the flesh, not for the sake of their souls or for God.

Let us inquire, then, among kings. Which of them does not burden his subjects in his pride. Which of them maintains his state according to the revenues of the crown? Who restores the property that the crown retains unjustly? Who is there that takes the time to carry out justice for God's sake? My daughter, would that such kings might appear in the world to give glory to God!

Let us inquire, moreover, among the clergy who are obliged to love chastity, poverty, and piety. To be sure, they, too, have gone astray. What are priests if not God's poor almsmen? Living on the divine offering, they should be all the humbler and more fervent toward God to the extent in which they have removed themselves from worldly cares. The church rose up from hardship and poverty in the beginning so that God might be their inheritance, and so that they might not glory in the world nor in the flesh but in God.

But, my daughter, could not God have chosen kings and rulers as apostles, and then the church would have been enriched through their earthly inheritance? He could have done so, of course, but God who is rich came into the world as a poor man in order to show that earthly possessions are fleeting, and so that men and women might learn from the Lord's example and not be ashamed of poverty but rather hasten on toward the true riches of heaven. Thus, he founded the beautiful organization of the church upon a poor fisherman and put him in his place to live in the world on divine providence and not on an inheritance.

Thus the church began with three goods: first, with zealous faith; second, with poverty; third, with the power of virtues and miracles. These three things were found in the blessed apostle Peter. He had zealous faith, when he outspokenly proclaimed his God and did not hesitate to die for him. He had poverty, too, when he went around begging and feeding himself through manual labor. Yet he showed himself to be rich in spiritual goods, which is more important, when, for example, he gave the lame man the ability to walk (which no prince could do), though he had no silver or gold to give him.

But could not Peter, who had raised dead persons to life, have obtained gold if he had wanted it? Certainly he could have, but he had unburdened himself from the burden of wealth in order to enter into heaven unencumbered, and in order that the master of the sheep might give them an example of humility, showing that humility and poverty (whether spiritual or physical) make up the way into heaven. Third, he had the power of miracles, for, apart from his greater miracles, the sick were cured by his very shadow. Because Peter possessed in himself the perfection of virtues - to oneself with necessities - his tongue became the key to heaven and his name is blessed in heaven and on earth.
However, those who invoked their own names on earth and loved dung, that is, earthly things, are forgotten on earth and receive a terrifying description in the book of justice.

Yet God wished to show that the poverty of both Peter and the other saints was not coerced but voluntary. Accordingly, he inspired many souls to give generously to them. However, the saints themselves found their glory more in poverty than in the thorns of wealth. Hence, the greater the poverty they lived in, the more abundantly their devotion increased. Is that strange?

How could those who had made God their portion and their joy be without him? Or how could those who sought worldly delights find any delight in God? He was, rather, a poor pilgrim in their eyes. In the course of time, however, in order that God's friends might be more fervent and ready to preach the word of God, and in order that people might know that it is not riches that are bad but only their abuse, temporal goods were granted to the church under the papacies of Silvester and others. These were for a long time used by the holy men only for their own necessities as well as for those of God's friends and for the sustenance of the poor.

Know, therefore, that God's friends are those who are content with God's dispensation. Even if they are not known to you, my Son has a keen perception of them. Gold is indeed often found in hard metal, and one can get a spark of fire out of flint. Go on, then, without worrying. Clamoring comes before doing. Not even when my Son was in the flesh did he convert all of Judea at once, nor did the apostles convert the Gentiles once and for all. No, longer time is needed for carrying out the work of God.”

The bride's words to Christ declaring the great mercy that he had shown her. Christ's words to the bride confirming his same sweet mercy toward her. And about how he chose her as a vessel to be filled with wine in order to give God's servants through her wine to drink. Also, the bride's thankful and humble answer to Christ.

Book 4 - Chapter 77

“Honor to God almighty for all his creation! Praise to him for all his virtue! May glorious service be rendered him for all his charity! I, unworthy person, who have sinned so much against you, my God, from my youth, I thank you, my most sweet God, and especially because there is none so criminal that you deny him mercy, provided he asks you for mercy with love and true humility and a purpose of amendment.

O God most loving and sweetest of all! What you have done for me is wonderful for all those who hear of it. Whenever you please, you put my body to sleep - yet not with a bodily sleep but with a spiritual rest. Then you rouse my soul to life as though from sleep so that I hear and feel in a spiritual way. O, Lord, how sweet are the words of your mouth! It truly seems to me, as often as I hear the words of your Spirit, that my soul within me swallows them with an indescribably sweet sensation like that from the sweetest food that seems to drop into my heart with great joy and indescribable consolation. It seems wonderful to me that while I listen to your words, I am made both fully satisfied and yet still hungry. I feel satisfied because nothing else pleases me but your words. Yet I feel hungry because my appetite for them keeps increasing. So, blessed are you, my God, Jesus Christ! Give me your help, Lord, so that I may be able all the days of my life to do the things pleasing to you!”

Christ answered, saying: ”I have neither beginning nor end. All things were created by my power and arranged by my wisdom. Everything is governed by my decision, and nothing is impossible for me, and all my works have been established with love. For this reason, that heart is exceedingly hard that does not want to love or fear me, although I am the nourisher and judge of all. Yet people do the will of the devil, my own executioner and the betrayer of humankind. He has given them such pestilent poison to drink in this world that a soul, once tasting it with pleasure, cannot live but falls down dead to hell and yet will live forever in misery. This is the poison of sin that, though it tastes sweet to many, yet in the end it will turn out to be horribly bitter. This venom is most assuredly drunk with pleasure all the time from the devil's hand. Who ever heard of such a strange thing? People are offered life, and yet they choose and voluntarily embrace death.

However, I, the most powerful being of all, have compassion on their great misery and anguish. I acted like a rich and loving king who sent expensive wine to his intimate servants, saying: 'Give this wine to many others besides yourselves to drink, for it is very healthful. It grants health to the sick, comfort to the downhearted, and a brave heart to those who are healthy.

Nor is the wine sent without a flask. This is indeed what I have done in this kingdom. To my servants I sent my words, which can be compared to the best of wine, and they shall give them to others, because my words are healthful.

By the flask I mean you, who are hearing my words. You have done both things, for you have heard and delivered my words. You are my flask. I shall fill you whenever I like and drain you whenever I please. Thus, my Spirit will show you where you should go and what you should say. May you fear no one but me. You must gladly go anywhere I wish and boldly say whatever I command you, for nothing can withstand me. I will be there with you.”

Then the bride said: ”I heard this voice, and I answered with tears: O, my Lord God, I who am like the least little midge in the face of your majesty, I ask your permission to reply to you.” The voice answered, saying: ”I knew your reply before you yourself thought of it. But I give you my permission to speak.” The bride then said: ”I answered: King of all glory, infuser of all wisdom, worker of all virtue, indeed virtue itself, why for such a mission do you wish to select me, who have wasted my body in sin, who am no wiser than a donkey and incapable of virtuous action? Please do not be angry with me, sweet Lord Jesus Christ, because I put such a question to you. One should never be surprised about anything from you, for you are able to do whatever you want, but I am surprised concerning myself, for I have offended you in many ways and made but little reparation.”

The voice answered, saying: ”I will answer you with a comparison. If various coins were offered to a rich and powerful king, and the king was then to have them melted down and recast into whatever shape he wanted, such as crowns or rings from the coins of gold, plates and drinking glasses from the coins of silver, pots and pans from the coins of copper, which the king could then use for his own comfort and adornment, why should you be surprised if he had done so? Therefore you should not be any more surprised if I take the hearts of my friends, which they have freely offered to me, and make what I want out of them. Though some of them have more sense and others less, still, when they offer me their hearts, I use some of them for one thing, others for another, but all of them for my glory and honor, for the righteous heart is a coin that pleases me greatly.

Thus do I arrange the things that are mine in whatever way I like. And, since you are mine, you should not be surprised at the things I want to do with you. Rather, be steadfast and firm in perseverance and willing to do whatever I command. I am powerful enough to provide you everywhere with all the things you need.”

The bride's divinely revealed words or, rather, words from the sweet mouth of the glorious Virgin, promulgated clearly, directly, and in an unveiled manner, instructing and comforting the bride, and about how these words must be transmitted to the pope, the vicar of the Lord, and how they warn of the downfall of the church.

Book 4 - Chapter 78

Honorable Father, I, a widow, declare that many, very amazing revelations were made to a certain woman while she resided in her homeland. After having been submitted to the diligent examination of bishops and learned religious and secular priests, these revelations were shown to have come from the holy and miraculous enlightenment of the Holy Spirit and from no other source. Even the king and queen of the realm acknowledged this on the basis of credible proof. Moreover, the same woman journeyed abroad to the city of Rome, where, when praying one day in the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, she was caught up in a spiritual vision, while her body seemed to fall into a torpor, though not the torpor of sleep.

At that moment the most venerable Virgin appeared to her. The aforementioned woman was troubled with perplexity at the vision. Recognizing her own frailty, she feared some deception by the devil, and she inwardly besought God's mercy not to let her fall into diabolical temptations. However, the Virgin who appeared to her said: ”Do not be afraid of the things you are about to see and hear, thinking they come from the evil spirit. Just as light and heat accompany the approach of the sun but do not follow after a dark shadow, in the same way two things accompany the coming of the Holy Spirit into the heart: ardent love for God and a perfect illumination of the Catholic faith. You are experiencing both these things now: You feel that you love nothing but God and that not a single point is lacking to you of the wholeness of the Catholic faith. These two things do not follow upon the evil spirit, whom we can liken to a dark shadow.”

Then the Virgin went on and said to the woman: ”You must send a message from me to a certain prelate.” The woman answered her with great sadness: ”My reverend Virgin, he will not believe me but will, I think, regard my words with scorn rather than as divine truth.” The Virgin answered her, saying: ”Although I know the disposition of his heart well enough and how he will delay in answering, as well as how he will end his life, you should still send him the following message.

I would have him know that the foundation of the Holy Church is so heavily deteriorated on its right side that its vaulted roof has many cracks at the top, and that this causes the stones to fall so dangerously that many of those who pass beneath it lose their lives. Several of the columns that should be standing erect are almost level with the ground, and even the floor is so full of holes that blind people entering there take dangerous falls. Sometimes it even happens that, along with the blind, people with good eyesight have bad falls because of the dangerous holes in the floor. Because of all this, the church of God is tottering dangerously. The result of this will shortly be seen. I assure you that she will suffer a downfall if she does not receive the help of repairs.
And her downfall will be so great that it will be heard throughout all of Christendom. All this is to be taken in a spiritual sense.

I am the Virgin into whose womb the Son of God condescended to enter, without the least contagious trace of carnal pleasure. The Son of God was born from my closed womb, giving me solace but no pain at all. I stood next to the cross when he victoriously overcame hell through his patient suffering and opened up heaven with the blood of his heart. I was also on the mountain when God's Son, who is also my Son, ascended into heaven. I have the clearest knowledge of the whole of the Catholic faith, which he preached and taught to everyone desirous of entering heaven. Now I stand over the world in continuous prayer, like a rainbow above the clouds that appears to bend toward the earth and touch it with both its ends.

I see myself as a rainbow bending down toward both the good and the wicked inhabitants of the earth by means of my continual prayers. I bend down toward good people in order that they may be steadfast in the commandments of the Holy Church, and I bend down toward bad people in order that they may not add to their wickedness and grow worse. I would have the man to whom I send this message know that foul and horrible clouds are rising up in one direction against the shining rainbow. By these clouds I mean those who lead a life of carnal debauchery, those who are as insatiable as the ocean chasm in their greed for money. They arrogantly and irrationally spend their means as wastefully as a torrential stream pours out its water. Many of the overseers of the church are guilty of these three things, and their abominable and befouled sins rise up to heaven in the sight of God, as much opposed to my prayers as foul clouds are opposed to the bright rainbow. These men, who should be placating God's wrath along with me, are instead provoking it against themselves. Such men should not be promoted but rejected in God's church.

As the Queen of Heaven, I will come to the aid of anyone who, knowing his own insufficiency, is willing to take on the task of making the church's foundation stable and its floor level, and who desires to restore the blessed vineyard that God founded with his blood. Together with the angels, I shall root up loose roots and throw each and every fruitless tree into the fire to burn, and I shall plant fruitful shoots in their stead. By this vineyard I mean the Holy Church of God in which the two virtues of humility and divine charity must be restored.”

The glorious Virgin, who appeared to the woman, commanded that all this be sent to you, Reverend Father. I, who have sent this letter to you, swear by Jesus, true and almighty God, and by his most worthy Mother Mary, that I have not sent this letter for the sake of any worldly honor or favor, so help me body and soul! I have sent it because that same woman, to whom many other words have been spoken in spiritual revelation, was commanded to make all this known to your Excellency.

The noteworthy preface to the useful instruction about the conduct of life that Christ prescribed to the bride for a priest attached to her, containing many excellent points.

Book 4 - Chapter 79

Praise and glory to almighty God for all his works! Everlasting honor to him who has begun to work his grace in you. When the earth is covered with snow and frost, we surely see that the seeds sown in it cannot germinate in any but those very few places warmed by the rays of the sun where plants and flowers spring up through the sun's doing. The nature and inherent virtue of the seeds can be discerned from these.

In a similar way, the whole world seems to me to be covered now with the hard frost of pride and greed and lust, so much so that, alas, there are very few people in whose hearts the perfect love of God can dwell, to judge from their words and deeds. One can thus be sure that just as God's friends rejoiced when they saw Lazarus raised from the dead for the glory of God, so too now God's friends rejoice whenever they see someone rise from the three aforementioned vices, which truly constitute an eternal death.

One should also note that, just as Lazarus incurred a twofold enmity after his resurrection (for he had both physical enemies, that is, people who were God's enemies and who hated Lazarus in a physical manner, and spiritual enemies, that is, the devils, who never want to be God's friends, and these hated him in a spiritual manner), so too all those who now rise up from mortal sins, wishing to keep chaste and to flee pride and greed, also incur a double enmity.

God's human enemies want to inflict a twofold physical harm on them. The devils, too, try to injure and hurt them in a twofold way spiritually. First of all worldly people reproach them with their words. Second, if they can, they also cause them trouble with their deeds, trying to make them like themselves in their action and conduct and to draw them away from their good undertakings. However, this man of God, newly converted to the spiritual life, can easily overcome these ill-willed people, if he remains patient in the face of the words directed against him, and if he then carries out his good deeds of a spiritual and divine character even more frequently and fervently in their sight.

The devils rely on two other methods of foiling him. Their great desire, first of all, is to make God's new servant fall back into sin. If they are unable to do this, then they apply themselves to the task of getting him to carry out his good works in an unreasonable and imprudent manner, such as imprudent fasting or keeping vigil beyond due measure. Their intention is to wear out his energy and thus make him weaker in God's service. The best remedy for the first danger is the frequent and wholesome confession of his sins and the true, inner contrition of his heart over his failings. The best remedy for the second danger is a humility of the kind that makes him rather obey some experienced spiritual director than make his own personal decisions about what to do and what penances to carry out. This medicine is indeed so beneficial and excellent that, even if the giver of advice is less worthy than the receiver, one can have the very sure hope of the cooperation of divine wisdom, that is, God himself, to help that giver of advice to give the advice most useful to the receiver, provided both of them have the perfect desire of acting for the honor and glory of God.

Now then, my beloved friend, since both of us have gotten ourselves up from our sins, let us ask God to deign to grant his help to both of us - to me in speaking, to you in obeying. We must beseech God for his help all the more because you, who are rich, wise, and noble, have condescended to ask the advice of me, who am unworthy, ignorant, and not very intelligent. I truly hope that God shall want to have regard for your humility and make what I write to you in his honor beneficial to you both in body and in soul.

Wise and profitable teaching to a certain priest concerning how he should conduct his life both spiritually and bodily, given by the bride of Christ, inspired in her by God.

Book 4 - Chapter 80

I advise you first to stay in your lodgings close to your church of the Holy Virgin Mary. You should have only one servant with you. After you have subtracted the necessary expenses from your income, you should return whatever is left over to your creditors and repay your debts in full. It is not right or reasonable to give a lot of money to the poor or to wealthy friends and relatives until all your debts have been resolved. Once you have completely resolved your debts, then - after subtracting the expenses for you and your servant - distribute everything that is left over to the poor and needy.

You should have good and serviceable clerical attire, taking good care of it so no vanity or ostentation can be noted in the quality of the cloth or the style of your clothes beyond honest necessity and physical usefulness. Be content with only two sets of clothes - one for feast days and one for ordinary days - and no more than two sets of shoes and stockings. Convert any superfluous clothes that you have to other uses or use them to payoff your debts. This year, give up linen garments altogether both at nighttime and during the day.

This year, consider your church, St. Mary's, as a cloistered church for the following three reasons. First because, if perhaps you ever remained there before for any proud motive, so in the future you should reside there out of divine obedience in honor of the most humble Virgin Mary. And if perhaps the canons and those holding benefices at this church ever led you with shameful words away from the service of God and toward evil desire, you should now try with God's help and by using divine and spiritual words to lead people away from evil desire and toward the delightful love for God. If perhaps you ever before set a bad example to anyone who saw you behaving yourself in an unpermissible fashion, you should now take care to present a profitable and virtuous example to their souls through your good deeds and upright behavior.

Next, my dear friend, you must plan your daytime and nighttime wisely and efficiently for the glory of God. I have indeed noticed that your church bells ring accurately at the appointed hours. As soon as you hear them at night, then, I advise you to get up immediately from your place and recall the five wounds of Jesus Christ and the sorrows of his most worthy Mother with five genuflections and five Our Fathers and five Hail Marys. Afterward you should begin the matins of the Blessed Virgin and say other prayers that you like until the canons gather in the choir for chant. It is better that you come to the church among the first rather than the last. You should sing the matins of the season devoutly, standing properly until the end and sitting whenever it is correct to do so, but not speaking at all unless you are asked something, and then only answering with a few quiet words and no sign of anger or impatience if you can avoid it. You would conduct yourself with proper order if you were in the presence of some temporal or earthly lord. Likewise, with all the more propriety and modesty and humble reverence, both inward and outward, you should stand in the presence and service of the eternal King of heaven who is always and everywhere present and sees everything.

If you happen to be compelled by some necessity to speak about important matters touching you or someone else during these half-hours, go out of the choir and give your opinion in few words without raising your voice while outside it and then return to your place there without delay. If possible, arrange to have the matter dealt with at another place and time in order not to diminish or impede the divine worship and the glory given to God. Take care not to wander about the church as though you are taking a walk, promenading hither and thither, while the hours are being sung. Such behavior belongs to an unstable and wandering mind and a lukewarm spirit with little love and devotion.

In the intervening time, that is, between the singing of the hours, devote yourself to prayer or read something devout or useful for your mind or beneficial for others, making constantly sure, from the hour in which you get up out of your bed for matins until high mass has been finished, that you do not become voluntarily involved in anything but chant, reading, prayer, or study, unless it happens that you must discuss or deal with certain matters in your chapter concerning the affairs of the church, either with improvements or organization. Once high mass has been celebrated, it is quite suitable to speak and converse about the needs and comfort of the body or good and virtuous recreations.

When you go to table, you should say grace. Whether you are someone else's guest or h